Background. Violence against women is internationally recognized as a social phenomenon representing a public health and a human rights problem. Partner abuse is its most common form and it affects the victim’s physical and mental health in the short- and long-term.
Objective. To analyze partner abuse in women from the general population based on a comparative study with women from Mexico and Spain. Another goal was to study the impact of this type of abuse on women’s mental health and the relevance of socio-cultural risk factors.
Method. Transversal study with 101 Mexican women and 101 Spaniard women from the general population evaluated in seven psychological tests on partner abuse, mental health, self-esteem, social support and attitudes towards gender roles.
Results. Most Mexican women and more than half of the Spaniards suffered abuse from their partners. Psychological maltreatment was the most frequent form of abuse. This was associated with worst mental health, less social support and more traditional attitudes towards gender roles.
Discussion and conclusion. The results of this study indicate that partner abuse, especially psychological is a common problem among women from the general population, coinciding with reports related to its prevalence in both countries, and it seems to be influenced by socio-cultural patterns. Partner abuse, especially psychological, is a threat for women’s mental health that needs to be attended focusing on the socio-cultural risk factors underlying it.