Welcome to week 2 of my project!
As I have been reading literature the past two weeks, I have realized that populations of domestic violence and low-income families are particularly susceptible to poor mental health during the pandemic. Parents were forced to take on the new stressor of providing for their families while unemployed. Sudden job loss and poor coping mechanisms can trigger intimate partner violence(IPV) which is why there was an increase in IPV during the pandemic. A majority of those abused have either anxiety or depression, so it is suspected that with the increase in IPV, there was an increase in anxiety and depression in these populations.
I spent this week collecting data on intimate partner violence(IPV) during the pandemic. The National Domestic Violence Hotline collected data on the number of times people called the hotline by state and which populations(age, gender, ethnicity) contacted the hotline the most. I collected the data provided by the Hotline and data on the population of each state to find the percent of each state’s population that contacted the hotline during the pandemic. As I collected this data, I realized that there was an urban-rural divide. From January 2020-June 2020, .075% of New York’s population contacted the hotline compared to .011% of South Dakota’s population. In addition, most of the calls or contacts occurred in more urban counties, even in the rural states. This was surprising to me because many studies and literature suggest that on average, there is more IPV in rural populations than in urban populations, at least prior to the pandemic. One potential reason for the increase in domestic violence in urban areas is that dense urban areas often had the most cases of COVID-19 and thus, the strictest quarantine or lockdown restrictions. I suspect that because of this increase in domestic violence in urban areas, rates of anxiety and depression would have spiked more in urban states than in rural states. However, it also could be that people in rural areas may have fewer resources and they may be contacting the hotline less. I am finding that there are many different components and things to think about when collecting data which is really interesting.
I am meeting with my advisor this weekend to discuss my findings. Then, I will begin to collect data on job loss, income rates, and anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic to see if there is a correlation between these variables and if there is an urban-rural divide.
I will keep you updated on my project!