Local social support mitigates depression among women contending with spousal violence and husband’s risky drinking in Mumbai slum communities

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Women living in slum communities in India too often contend with depression. Local social support in other national contexts has been shown to reduce such risks. Less research in this area has been done in India and specifically with monogamous wives. Methods: This study involved a household sample of women reporting husband’s partner violence or heavy alcohol use (N=220). Participants were assessed on high social support in the community, and number of depressed days in the past 30 day (dichotomized as 10+ vs. < 10 day). Logistic regression analyses assessed associations between local social support and depression, adjusting for demographics, spousal violence, and husband risky alcohol use. Results: High local social support was reported by 40% of women; 33% reported never having local social support. Women with high local social support were significantly less likely to report depression (AOR: 0.53, 95% CI: 0.30–0.94), even after adjusting for husbands’ recent spousal violence perpetration and his risky alcohol use, both of which were also significantly associated with depression. Limitations: The data analyzed for this study are vulnerable to self-report and recall biases, as well as issues around social desirability. These analyses are further limited due to the use of single item measures to assess depression and local social support. Conclusions: Local social support reduces risk for depression among women in Mumbai contending with husbands’ spousal violence and risky alcohol use. These findings support the likely utility of community-based social support building to reduce risk for depression among this vulnerable population of women.