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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 963967, 6 pages
Review Article

Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Victims of Intimate Partner Abuse: A Systematic Review of Use and Efficacy

1Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
2Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW 2007, Australia

Received 3 April 2014; Accepted 12 May 2014; Published 28 May 2014

Academic Editor: David Mischoulon

Copyright © 2014 Luke Duffy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To examine: (i) the extent to which victims of intimate partner abuse (IPA) use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and (ii) the effects of CAM on their mental health. Methods. Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched for studies measuring the extent of CAM use amongst victims of IPA and trials assessing the impact of CAM on mental health amongst this population. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane collaboration tool. Results. No studies measuring the level of CAM use amongst IPA victims, and only three studies assessing the effect of CAM on the mental health of this population were identified. Two studies looked at yogic breathing, while one assessed the effect of music therapy. All three studies showed some beneficial effects; however, each had a small sample, brief intervention period, and no follow-up measurement and were considered to be at high risk of bias. Conclusions. The review found little evidence for the benefits of CAM for IPA victims. Findings suggest positive effects of music therapy and yogic breathing; however, methodological limitations mean that these results should be interpreted with caution. It is important that more research into the use and effects of CAM amongst this population are undertaken.