Longitudinal measurement of cortisol in association with mental health and experience of domestic violence and abuse: study protocol.
Lokhmatkina NV, Feder G, Blake S, Morris R, Powers V, Lightman S.
Domestic violence and abuse is threatening behavior, violence/abuse used by one person to control the other within an intimate or family-type relationship. Women experience more severe physical and sexual domestic violence and abuse and more mental health consequences than men. The current study aims at exploring of the role of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis activity in abuse impact on women's mental health. Study objectives: 1) To evaluate diurnal cortisol slope, cortisol awakening response, and the mean cortisol concentration in women with a current or recent experience of abuse; 2) To estimate whether cortisol secretion is associated with type, severity, duration and cessation of abuse; 3) To investigate whether cortisol acts as mediator between abuse and mental health condition; 4) To examine whether there is any distinction in cortisol levels between those women exposed to both childhood abuse and domestic violence and abuse and those experienced only the latter. 4) To explore whether cortisol secretion differs between women living in refuge and those still living in the community.