Editor's Pick - journal highlights (Summer 2021)

Archives of Women's Mental Health publishes the latest research and review articles on current topics in a wide range of specialty areas. Here are some of highlights published in 2021, handpicked by the Editor-in-Chief Anita Riecher-Rössler.

Intimate partner violence among ever-married Afghan women: patterns, associations and attitudinal acceptance
Rehana Shinwari, Michael Lowery Wilson, Olumide Abiodun & Masood Ali Shaikh 

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is one of the most prevalent forms of violence that women suffer globally. Women in Afghanistan have been exposed to high levels of IPV which coincided with high levels of conflict during more than four decades. This study examined 21,234 ever-married Afghan women. The analyses showed that 55.54% of Afghan women experienced some form of physical, emotional, or sexual violence by their intimate partners, mainly physical violence (50.52%). Women, who themselves or whose spouses had at least a primary education had lower exposure to violence. As the authors stress, policy may benefit from considering these factors.

Disordered eating and eating disorders among women seeking fertility treatment: A systematic review
Leah M. Hecht, Ashley Hadwiger, Shivali Patel, Bryan R. Hecht, Amy Loree, Brian K. Ahmedani & Lisa R. Miller-Matero

This systematic review evaluated the prevalence of disordered eating among women seeking fertility treatment. It showed that rates of current and past eating disorders are higher among women seeking fertility treatment than in the general population. The authors conclude that providers treating women with infertility should consider screening for eating pathology in their patients as this may contribute to their likelihood of successful conception and potentially also to subsequent pregnancy outcomes.

Rate of polycystic ovary syndrome in mental health disorders: a systematic review
Katie M. Douglas, Anna J. Fenton, Kate Eggleston & Richard J. Porter

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with increased risk of many mental health conditions, including mood and anxiety disorders. This systematic review investigated the prevalence of PCOS seen in mental health disorders. In Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bulimia nervosa, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder samples, significantly increased rates of PCOS were reported compared with healthy control samples, although studies were relatively small. There also was limited evidence of elevated rates of PCOS in bipolar disorder. Overall, as the authors state, there should be more studies assessing PCOS in mental health samples.

Free testosterone is related to aspects of cognitive function in women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome
Mayouri Sukhapure, Kate Eggleston, Katie Douglas, Anna Fenton, Christopher Frampton & Richard J. Porter

Evidence suggests impairment in aspects of cognitive function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Direct effects of raised testosterone levels associated with PCOS are a potential mechanism. This study therefore explored the relationship between testosterone levels and cognitive functioning in women. Eighty-one women were examined, with 40 meeting diagnostic criteria for PCOS. Higher free testosterone levels in women were associated with poorer cognitive function, specifically psychomotor speed and visuospatial learning. Overall, the study confirms that women with PCOS and raised free testosterone levels may experience impairment in cognitive function.

Association between obsessive–compulsive disorder and obstetrical and neonatal outcomes in the USA: a population-based cohort study
Khalidha Nasiri, Nicholas Czuzoj-Shulman & Haim Arie Abenhaim

This study examined pregnant women with Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and their obstetrical and neonatal outcomes. The retrospective population-based cohort study was conducted using a nationally representative database of hospitalizations in the USA, from 1999 to 2015.In total 3365 births to women with OCD were analyzed. OCD was associated with a higher risk of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, caesarean and instrumental deliveries, venous thromboembolisms and preterm birth. All in all the study showed that pregnancies in women with OCD are at high risk of adverse obstetrical and neonatal outcomes. A multidisciplinary approach should be used to ensure adequate prenatal follow-up and care.