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1.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Termination of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001581.
Lucy Chappell and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta analysis to investigate a possible association between intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and termination of pregnancy (TOP) are global health concerns, but their interaction is undetermined. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an association between IPV and TOP.
Methods and Findings
A systematic review based on a search of Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Ovid Maternity and Infant Care from each database's inception to 21 September 2013 for peer-reviewed articles of any design and language found 74 studies regarding women who had undergone TOP and had experienced at least one domain (physical, sexual, or emotional) of IPV. Prevalence of IPV and association between IPV and TOP were meta-analysed. Sample sizes ranged from eight to 33,385 participants. Worldwide, rates of IPV in the preceding year in women undergoing TOP ranged from 2.5% to 30%. Lifetime prevalence by meta-analysis was shown to be 24.9% (95% CI 19.9% to 30.6%); heterogeneity was high (I2>90%), and variation was not explained by study design, quality, or size, or country gross national income per capita. IPV, including history of rape, sexual assault, contraceptive sabotage, and coerced decision-making, was associated with TOP, and with repeat TOPs. By meta-analysis, partner not knowing about the TOP was shown to be significantly associated with IPV (pooled odds ratio 2.97, 95% CI 2.39 to 3.69). Women in violent relationships were more likely to have concealed the TOP from their partner than those who were not. Demographic factors including age, ethnicity, education, marital status, income, employment, and drug and alcohol use showed no strong or consistent mediating effect. Few long-term outcomes were studied. Women welcomed the opportunity to disclose IPV and be offered help. Limitations include study heterogeneity, potential underreporting of both IPV and TOP in primary data sources, and inherent difficulties in validation.
Conclusions
IPV is associated with TOP. Novel public health approaches are required to prevent IPV. TOP services provide an opportune health-based setting to design and test interventions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (sometimes referred to as domestic violence) is one of the commonest forms of violence against women and is a global health problem. The World Health Organization defines intimate partner violence as any act of physical, psychological, or sexual aggression or any controlling behavior (for example, restriction of access to assistance) perpetrated by the woman's current or past intimate partner. Although men also experience it, intimate partner violence is overwhelmingly experienced by women, particularly when repeated or severe. Studies indicate that the prevalence (the percentage of a population affected by a condition) of intimate partner violence varies widely within and between countries: the prevalence of intimate partner violence among women ranges from 15% in Japan to 71% in Ethiopia, and the lifetime prevalence of rape (forced sex) within intimate relationships ranges from 5.9% to 42% across the world, for example. Overall, a third of women experience intimate partner violence at some time during their lifetimes. The health consequences of such violence include physical injury, depression, suicidal behavior, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Why Was This Study Done?
Intimate partner violence can also lead to gynecological disorders (conditions affecting the female reproductive organs), unwanted pregnancy, premature labour and birth, and sexually transmitted infections. Because violence may begin or intensify during pregnancy, some countries recommend routine questioning about intimate partner violence during antenatal care. However, women seeking termination of pregnancy (induced abortion) are not routinely asked about intimate partner violence. Every year, many women worldwide terminate a pregnancy. Nearly half of these terminations are unsafe, and complications arising from unsafe abortions are responsible for more than 10% of maternal deaths (deaths from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications). It is important to know whether intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy are associated in order to develop effective strategies to deal with both these global health concerns. Here, the researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the associations between intimate partner violence and termination or pregnancy. A systematic review identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria; meta-analysis combines the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 74 studies that provided information about experiences of intimate partner violence among women who had had a termination of pregnancy. Data in these studies indicated that, worldwide, intimate partner violence rates among women undergoing termination ranged from 2.5% to 30% in the preceding year and from 14% to 40% over their lifetime. In the meta-analysis, the lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence was 24.9% among termination-seeking populations. The identified studies provided evidence that intimate partner violence was associated with termination and with repeat termination. In one study, for example, women presenting for a third termination were more than two and a half times more likely to have a history of physical or sexual violence than women presenting for their first termination. Moreover, according to the meta-analysis, women in violent relationships were three times as likely to conceal a termination from their partner as women in non-violent relationships. Finally, the studies indicated that women undergoing terminations of pregnancy welcomed the opportunity to disclose their experiences of intimate partner violence and to be offered help.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that intimate partner violence is associated with termination of pregnancy and that a woman's partner not knowing about the termination is a risk factor for intimate partner violence among women seeking termination. Overall, the researchers' findings support the concept that violence can lead to pregnancy and to subsequent termination of pregnancy, and that there may be a repetitive cycle of abuse and pregnancy. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) among the included studies, by the likelihood of underreporting of both intimate partner violence and termination in the included studies, and by lack of validation of reports of violence through, for example, police reports. Nevertheless, health-care professionals should consider the possibility that women seeking termination of pregnancy may be experiencing intimate partner violence. In trying to prevent repeat terminations, health-care professionals should be aware that while focusing on preventing conception may reduce the chances of a woman becoming pregnant, she may still be vulnerable to abuse. Finally, given the clear associations between intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy, the researchers suggest that termination services represent an appropriate setting in which to test interventions designed to reduce intimate partner violence.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001581.
The World Health organization provides detailed information about intimate partner violence and about termination of pregnancy (some information available in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about intimate partner violence and about termination of pregnancy (in English and Spanish)
The World Bank has a webpage that discusses the role of the health sector in preventing gender-based violence and a webpage with links to other resources about gender-based violence
The Gender and Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council provides links to further resources about intimate partner violence (research briefs/policy briefs/fact sheets/research reports)
DIVERHSE (Domestic & Interpersonal Violence: Effecting Responses in the Health Sector in Europe) is a European forum for health professionals, nongovernmental organizations, policy-makers, and academics to share their expertise and good practice in developing and evaluating interventions to address violence against women and children in a variety of health-care settings
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Gender Violence and Health Centre also has a number of research resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides personal stories of intimate partner violence during pregnancy
The March of Dimes provides information on identifying intimate partner violence during pregnancy and making a safety plan
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001581
PMCID: PMC3883805  PMID: 24409101
2.  Intimate Partner Violence and Depression Symptom Severity among South African Women during Pregnancy and Postpartum: Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2016;13(1):e1001943.
Background
Violence against women by intimate partners remains unacceptably common worldwide. The evidence base for the assumed psychological impacts of intimate partner violence (IPV) is derived primarily from studies conducted in high-income countries. A recently published systematic review identified 13 studies linking IPV to incident depression, none of which were conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. To address this gap in the literature, we analyzed longitudinal data collected during the course of a 3-y cluster-randomized trial with the aim of estimating the association between IPV and depression symptom severity.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a secondary analysis of population-based, longitudinal data collected from 1,238 pregnant women during a 3-y cluster-randomized trial of a home visiting intervention in Cape Town, South Africa. Surveys were conducted at baseline, 6 mo, 18 mo, and 36 mo (85% retention). The primary explanatory variable of interest was exposure to four types of physical IPV in the past year. Depression symptom severity was measured using the Xhosa version of the ten-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. In a pooled cross-sectional multivariable regression model adjusting for potentially confounding time-fixed and time-varying covariates, lagged IPV intensity had a statistically significant association with depression symptom severity (regression coefficient b = 1.04; 95% CI, 0.61–1.47), with estimates from a quantile regression model showing greater adverse impacts at the upper end of the conditional depression distribution. Fitting a fixed effects regression model accounting for all time-invariant confounding (e.g., history of childhood sexual abuse) yielded similar findings (b = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.13–1.96). The magnitudes of the coefficients indicated that a one–standard-deviation increase in IPV intensity was associated with a 12.3% relative increase in depression symptom severity over the same time period. The most important limitations of our study include exposure assessment that lacked measurement of sexual violence, which could have caused us to underestimate the severity of exposure; the extended latency period in the lagged analysis, which could have caused us to underestimate the strength of the association; and outcome assessment that was limited to the use of a screening instrument for depression symptom severity.
Conclusions
In this secondary analysis of data from a population-based, 3-y cluster-randomized controlled trial, IPV had a statistically significant association with depression symptom severity. The estimated associations were relatively large in magnitude, consistent with findings from high-income countries, and robust to potential confounding by time-invariant factors. Intensive health sector responses to reduce IPV and improve women’s mental health should be explored.
In a population-based prospective cohort study, Alexander C. Tsai and colleagues examine bidirectional associations between intimate partner violence and depressed mood among pregnant and postpartum women living near Cape Town, South Africa.
Editors' Summary
Background
Violence against women perpetrated by an intimate partner is a common and widespread problem. Rates of intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) vary widely between countries but, globally, nearly a third of women experience IPV at some time in their life. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional violence that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes slapping, pushing or shoving, hitting with a fist or another object, and threatening or attacking a partner with a weapon; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not give consent; and emotional violence includes threatening a partner by, for example, preventing them seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV against women include physical injury and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
Studies undertaken in high-income countries have also shown an association between IPV and adverse mental health outcomes among women, such as depression (long-lasting and overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness) and suicidal behavior. However, few if any studies on the association between IPV and depression have been conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, where the rates of IPV against women are among the highest in the world. In this population-based prospective cohort study, the researchers analyze longitudinal data collected during a cluster-randomized trial that involved more than 1,200 women living in townships near Cape Town, South Africa. The primary aim of this randomized trial was to investigate whether regular visits by “mentor mothers” (women who had successfully raised children in the face of adversity) improved maternal and child health in the 3 y following the child’s birth. As part of this trial, the researchers collected data at multiple time points (longitudinal data) on women’s experiences of IPV and symptoms of depression. Here, the researchers conduct a secondary analysis of these data to estimate the association between IPV severity and depression symptom severity among women during and following pregnancy.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
During the cluster-randomized trial, the researchers asked the women about their exposure to physical IPV during the past year in surveys undertaken at baseline, 6 mo, 18 mo, and 36 mo. Depression symptom severity was also measured in the women at these time points using a version of the ten-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in the local language Xhosa; this scale is an instrument that screens for postnatal depression by asking questions about depressive symptoms experienced during the past seven days by women who have recently had a baby, such as how often they have felt sad or miserable. Statistical analyses of these data indicated that, after allowing for other factors that might affect depression symptom severity, IPV intensity had a statistically significant association (an association unlikely to have arisen by chance) with depression symptom severity. That is, an increase in IPV severity among the study participants was associated with an increase in depression symptom severity over the same period. Notably, this association was bidirectional. That is, depression symptom severity also had a statistically significant association with IPV intensity.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, among women living in poor neighborhoods in Cape Town who have recently had a baby, IPV severity had a statistically significant association with depression symptom severity. The magnitude of this association was relatively large and consistent with findings from high-income countries. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by certain aspects of this study. For example, because the study participants were not asked about sexual violence, the severity of IPV exposure may be underestimated. Nevertheless, these findings—in particular, the demonstration that the association between IPV and depression is bilateral—have important policy and programmatic implications for women’s health in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, because IPV and depression may be intertwined in a vicious cycle, with IPV increasing the risk of future depression and depression increasing the risk of future victimization, multi-component interventions that combine a broad-based package of services (for example, provision of legal aid, transitional housing, and childcare support) with interventions designed to treat depression (for example cognitive-behavioral therapy) may be needed to reduce IPV and improve women’s mental health.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001943.
A PLOS Medicine Research Article by Devries et al. reviews the evidence from high-income countries for an association between IPV and depression
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence and on depression (some information in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about intimate partner violence, including some personal stories, and detailed information about depression
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about intimate partner violence and links to further resources
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence and about depression (in English and Spanish)
More information about the "mentor mother" trial is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001943
PMCID: PMC4718639  PMID: 26784110
3.  Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Attempts: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001439.
Karen Devries and colleagues conduct a systematic review of longitudinal studies to evaluate the direction of association between symptoms of depression and intimate partner violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial burden of disease globally. Evidence suggests that intimate partner violence (IPV) experience is associated with increased risk of depression, but also that people with mental disorders are at increased risk of violence. We aimed to investigate the extent to which IPV experience is associated with incident depression and suicide attempts, and vice versa, in both women and men.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies published before February 1, 2013. More than 22,000 records from 20 databases were searched for studies examining physical and/or sexual intimate partner or dating violence and symptoms of depression, diagnosed major depressive disorder, dysthymia, mild depression, or suicide attempts. Random effects meta-analyses were used to generate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Sixteen studies with 36,163 participants met our inclusion criteria. All studies included female participants; four studies also included male participants. Few controlled for key potential confounders other than demographics. All but one depression study measured only depressive symptoms. For women, there was clear evidence of an association between IPV and incident depressive symptoms, with 12 of 13 studies showing a positive direction of association and 11 reaching statistical significance; pooled OR from six studies = 1.97 (95% CI 1.56–2.48, I2 = 50.4%, pheterogeneity = 0.073). There was also evidence of an association in the reverse direction between depressive symptoms and incident IPV (pooled OR from four studies = 1.93, 95% CI 1.51–2.48, I2 = 0%, p = 0.481). IPV was also associated with incident suicide attempts. For men, evidence suggested that IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, but there was no clear evidence of an association between IPV and suicide attempts or depression and incident IPV.
Conclusions
In women, IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms with incident IPV. IPV was associated with incident suicide attempts. In men, few studies were conducted, but evidence suggested IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms. There was no clear evidence of association with suicide attempts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial proportion of the global disease burden. Depression—an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can last for months or years—affects more than 350 million people worldwide. It is the eleventh leading cause of global disability-adjusted life-years (a measure of overall disease burden), and it affects one in six people at some time during their lives. Globally, about a million people commit suicide every year, usually because they have depression or some other mental illness. Notably, in cross-sectional studies (investigations that look at a population at a single time point), experience of intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is strongly and consistently associated with both depressive disorders and suicide. IPV, like depression and suicide, is extremely common—in multi-country studies, 15%–71% of women report being physically assaulted at some time during their lifetime. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse; men as well as women can be the victims of IPV.
Why Was This Study Done?
It may seem obvious to assume that IPV is causally related to subsequent depression and suicidal behavior. However, cross-sectional studies provide no information about causality, and it is possible that depression and/or suicide attempts cause subsequent IPV or that there are common risk factors for IPV, depression, and suicide. For example, individuals with depressive symptoms may be more accepting of partners with characteristics that predispose them to use violence, or early life exposure to violence may predispose individuals to both depression and choosing violent partners. Here, as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, the researchers investigate the extent to which experience of IPV is associated with subsequent depression and suicide attempts and vice versa in both men and women by undertaking a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies that have examined IPV, depression, and suicide attempts. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, meta-analysis combines the results of several studies, and longitudinal studies track people over time to investigate associations between specific characteristics and outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 16 longitudinal studies involving a total of 36,163 participants that met their inclusion criteria. All the studies included women, but only four also included men. All the studies were undertaken in high- and middle-income countries. For women, 11 studies showed a statistically significant association (an association unlikely to have occurred by chance) between IPV and subsequent depressive symptoms. In a meta-analysis of six studies, experience of IPV nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently reporting depressive symptoms. In addition, there was evidence of an association in the reverse direction. In a meta-analysis of four studies, depressive symptoms nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently experiencing IPV. IPV was also associated with subsequent suicide attempts among women. For men, there was some evidence from two studies that IPV was associated with depressive symptoms but no evidence for an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt or between depressive symptoms and subsequent IPV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that women who are exposed to IPV are at increased risk of subsequent depression and that women who are depressed are more likely to be at risk of IPV. They also provide evidence of an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt for women. The study provides little evidence for similar relationships among men, but additional studies are needed to confirm this finding. Moreover, the accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by several limitations of the study. For example, few of the included studies controlled for other factors that might have affected both exposure to IPV and depressive symptoms, and none of the studies considered the effect of emotional violence on depressive symptoms and suicide attempts. Nevertheless, these findings have two important implications. First, they suggest that preventing violence against women has the potential to reduce the global burden of disease related to depression and suicide. Second, they suggest that clinicians should pay attention to past experiences of violence and the risk of future violence when treating women who present with symptoms of depression.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001439.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Alexander Tsai
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression and of suicide and suicide prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about depression, including personal stories about depression, and information on suicide and its prevention; it has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The World Health Organization provides information on depression, on the global burden of suicide and on suicide prevention, and on intimate partner violence (some information in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression, suicide, and domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories about depression and about dealing with suicide
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001439
PMCID: PMC3646718  PMID: 23671407
4.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001609.
Ana Maria Buller and colleagues review 19 studies and estimate the associations between the experience and perpetration of intimate partner violence and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) is a significant problem. Little is known about the association between IPV and health for MSM. We aimed to estimate the association between experience and perpetration of IPV, and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
Methods and Findings
We searched 13 electronic databases up to 23 October 2013 to identify research studies reporting the odds of health conditions or sexual risk behaviours for MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV. Nineteen studies with 13,797 participants were included in the review. Random effects meta-analyses were performed to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.88, 95% CIOR 1.59–2.22, I2 = 46.9%, 95% CII2 0%–78%), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, 95% CIOR 1.26–1.69, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–62%), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, 95% CIOR 1.24–1.86, I2 = 9.9%, 95% CII2 0%–91%), and engagement in unprotected anal sex (OR = 1.72, 95% CIOR 1.44–2.05, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–68%). Perpetration of IPV was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.99, 95% CIOR 1.33–2.99, I2 = 73.1%). These results should be interpreted with caution because of methodological weaknesses such as the lack of validated tools to measure IPV in this population and the diversity of recall periods and key outcomes in the identified studies.
Conclusions
MSM who are victims of IPV are more likely to engage in substance use, suffer from depressive symptoms, be HIV positive, and engage in unprotected anal sex. MSM who perpetrate IPV are more likely to engage in substance use. Our results highlight the need for research into effective interventions to prevent IPV in MSM, as well as the importance of providing health care professionals with training in how to address issues of IPV among MSM and the need to raise awareness of local and national support services.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is a common and widespread problem. Globally, nearly a third of women are affected by IPV at some time in their life, but the prevalence of IPV (the proportion of the population affected by IPV) varies widely between countries. In central sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly two-thirds of women experience IPV during their lifetime, whereas in East Asia only one-sixth of women are affected. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional harm that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, and other types of physical force; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent; and emotional abuse includes threatening a partner by, for example, stalking them or preventing them from seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV for women include physical injury, depression and suicidal behaviour, and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
IPV affects men as well as women. Men can be subjected to IPV either by a female partner or by a male partner in the case of men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). Recent reviews suggest that the prevalence of IPV in same-sex couples is as high as the prevalence of IPV for women in opposite-sex relationships: reported lifetime prevalences of IPV in homosexual male relationships range between 15.4% and 51%. Little is known, however, about the adverse health effects of IPV on MSM. It is important to understand how IPV affects the health of MSM so that appropriate services and interventions can be provided to support MSM who experience IPV. In this systematic review (a study that identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria) and meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of several studies using statistical methods), the researchers investigate the associations between the experience and perpetration of IPV and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 studies that investigated associations between IPV and various health conditions or sexual risk behaviours (for example, unprotected anal sex, a risk factor for HIV infection) among MSM. The associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs); an OR represents the odds (chances) that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure. The researchers estimated pooled ORs from the data in the individual studies using meta-analysis. The pooled lifetime prevalence of experiencing any IPV (which was measured in six studies) was 48%. Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with an increased risk of substance (alcohol or drug) use (OR = 1.88, data from nine studies), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, data from three studies), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, data from ten studies), and engagement in unprotected sex (OR = 1.72, data from eight studies). Perpetration of IPV was associated with an increased risk of substance abuse (OR = 1.99, data from six studies).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that MSM frequently experience IPV and that exposure to IPV is associated with several adverse health conditions and sexual risk behaviours. There were insufficient data to estimate the lifetime prevalence of IPV perpetration among MSM, but these findings also reveal an association between IPV perpetration and substance use. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) between the studies included in the meta-analyses, by the design of these studies, and by the small number of studies. Despite these and other limitations, these findings highlight the need to undertake research to identify interventions to prevent IPV among MSM and to learn more about the health effects of IPV among MSM. They highlight the importance of health care professionals being aware that IPV is a problem for MSM and of training these professionals to assess MSM for IPV. Finally, these results highlight the need to improve the availability and effectiveness of support services to which health care professionals can refer MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about IPV and a fact sheet on understanding IPV that includes links to further resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV, including MSM; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project/GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides support and services to MSM experiencing IPV; its website includes some personal stories
The UK not-for-profit organization Respect runs two advice lines: the Men's Advice Line provides advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse and the Respect Phoneline provides advice for domestic violence perpetrators and for professionals who would like further information about services for those using violence/abuse in their intimate partner relationships
The UK not-for-profit organization ManKind Initiative also provides support for male victims of IPV
The UK not-for-profit organization Broken Rainbow UK provides help and support for lesbians and MSM experiencing IPV
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Galop gives advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence, or domestic abuse
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609
PMCID: PMC3942318  PMID: 24594975
5.  Violence involving intimate partners 
Canadian Family Physician  2007;53(3):460-468.
OBJECTIVE
To investigate the prevalence of violence involving intimate partners among women visiting Canadian family practices and to assess participants’ attitudes toward future use of computer-assisted screening for violence and other health risks.
DESIGN
Self-report via written survey.
SETTING
Group family practice clinic in inner-city Toronto, Ont.
PARTICIPANTS
Women patients at least 18 years old who were fluent in English.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Responses to questions about violence selected from the Abuse Assessment Screen and the Partner Violence Screen. Participants’ attitudes toward computer-assisted screening as measured by the Computerized Lifestyle Assessment Scale (1 to 5) in the domains of benefits, privacy—barriers, interaction—barriers, and interest.
RESULTS
Responses were received from 202 patients, 144 of whom were in current or recent relationships and completed the section on intimate-partner violence (IPV). The overall prevalence of IPV in current or recent relationships was 14.6%. Emotional abuse was reported by 10.4%, threat of violence by 8.3%, and physical or sexual violence by 7.6% of respondents. Emotional abuse was significantly associated with threat of violence and physical or sexual violence (P≤.001). Analysis of responses to questions on computerized screening revealed that participants generally perceived it would have benefits (mean score 3.6) and were very interested in it (mean score 4.3). Those who reported experiencing IPV rated the benefits of computerized screening significantly higher than respondents without IPV experiences did (t2.3, df142, P < .05). Participants were “not sure” about barriers (mean score 3.0). Responses were similar in the 2 groups for the domains of interest, privacy—barriers, and interaction—barriers.
CONCLUSION
The high rate of IPV reported by women attending family practices calls for physicians to be vigilant. Future research should examine ways to facilitate physicians’ inquiry into IPV. The positive attitudes of our participants toward interactive computer-assisted screening indicates a need for more research in this area.
PMCID: PMC1949081  PMID: 17872682
6.  The pattern and correlates of intimate partner violence among women in Kano, Nigeria 
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been increasingly recognised as a major public health and human rights problem that cuts across all populations, irrespective of social, economic, religious or cultural groups.
Objectives
The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence, pattern and correlates of IPV among women attending the General Out Patient Clinic of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria. It was also designed to determine the pattern of health complications associated with IPV as well as the perception of women on intimate partner violence.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional, hospital-based study. Three hundred and ninety-three women aged 15–49 years who were in or had ever been in an intimate relationship were recruited. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data about their socio-demographic characteristics while information on IPV was obtained using the Composite Abuse Scale. The data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 16.0.
Results
The prevalence of IPV within the previous year was 42.0%. Of all the 393 participants recruited in the study, 46.6% had experienced emotional/psychological violence, harassment/controlling behaviour was present in 43.3%, physical violence was reported in 29.0%, sexual violence was present in 21.9% and 37.9% of the participants had experienced severe combined abuse. Being married (χ2 = 24.726, p = 0.000) and pregnancy reduced the risk of IPV (χ2 = 6.690, p = 0.030), while polygamous family setting (χ2 = 9.734, p = 0.008) and an extended family type (χ2 = 9.593, p = 0.023) were associated with an increased risk of IPV. Alcohol consumption by the partner (p = 0.000, OR 2.335, CI 1.151–3.230) was found to be a positive correlate as well as a complication of IPV. Other patterns of health complications that were significantly associated with IPV were depression (p = 0.000, OR 3.517, CI 4.061–22.306), miscarriage (p = 0.004, OR 2.080, CI 1.591–2.269) and the presence of physical injuries in the participants (p = 0.024, OR 2.405, CI 2.345–4.234). One hundred and fifty-nine (40.5%) of the participants agreed that a husband is justified for beating or hitting his wife and neglecting the child was the reason given by most of the participants (26.7%) to justify IPV.
Conclusion
The high prevalence of IPV among women of reproductive age in this study shows that it is an important problem that women would rather not talk about or have accepted as a norm. It is associated with poor physical and mental health of women who are victims.
Recommendation
It is therefore recommended that physicians routinely screen for IPV especially in patients with depressive symptoms, miscarriage and physical injuries. Screening will be a safe and cost-effective means for identifying women experiencing IPV, leading to appropriate interventions that will decrease further exposure to IPV and its adverse health consequences.
doi:10.4102/phcfm.v8i1.1209
PMCID: PMC5153410
7.  High Prevalence and Partner Correlates of Physical and Sexual Violence by Intimate Partners among Street and Off-Street Sex Workers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102129.
Objectives
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with increased risk of HIV among women globally. There is limited evidence and understanding about IPV and potential HIV risk pathways among sex workers (SWs). This study aims to longitudinally evaluate prevalence and correlates of IPV among street and off-street SWs over two-years follow-up.
Methods
Longitudinal data were drawn from an open prospective cohort, AESHA (An Evaluation of Sex Workers Health Access) in Metro Vancouver, Canada (2010–2012). Prevalence of physical and sexual IPV was measured using the WHO standardized IPV scale (version 9.9). Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) were used to examine interpersonal and structural correlates of IPV over two years.
Results
At baseline, 387 SWs had a male, intimate sexual partner and were eligible for this analysis. One-fifth (n = 83, 21.5%) experienced recent physical/sexual IPV at baseline and 26.2% over two-years follow-up. In multivariable GEE analysis, factors independently correlated with physical/sexual IPV in the last six months include: childhood (<18 years) sexual/physical abuse (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.05, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14–3.69), inconsistent condom use for vaginal and/or anal sex with intimate partner (AOR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.07–3.16),
Discussion
Our results demonstrate that over one-fifth of SWs in Vancouver report physical/sexual IPV in the last six months. The socio-structural correlates of IPV uncovered here highlight potential HIV risk pathways through SWs’ intimate, non-commercial partner relationships. The high prevalence of IPV among SWs is a critical public health concern and underscores the need for integrated violence and HIV prevention and intervention strategies tailored to this key population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102129
PMCID: PMC4092091  PMID: 25010362
BMC Women's Health  2008;8:17.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV), defined as actual or threatened physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse by current or former partners is a global public health concern. The prevalence and determinants of intimate partner violence (IPV) against pregnant women has not been described in Rwanda. A study was conducted to identify variables associated with IPV among Rwandan pregnant women.
Methods
A convenient sample of 600 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics were administered a questionnaire which included items on demographics, HIV status, IPV, and alcohol use by the male partner. Mean age and proportions of IPV in different groups were assessed. Odds of IPV were estimated using logistic regression analysis.
Results
Of the 600 respondents, 35.1% reported IPV in the last 12 months. HIV+ pregnant women had higher rates of all forms of IVP violence than HIV- pregnant women: pulling hair (44.3% vs. 20.3%), slapping (32.0% vs. 15.3%), kicking with fists (36.3% vs. 19.7%), throwing to the ground and kicking with feet (23.3% vs. 12.7%), and burning with hot liquid (4.1% vs. 3.5%). HIV positive participants were more than twice likely to report physical IPV than those who were HIV negative (OR = 2.38; 95% CI [1.59, 3.57]). Other factors positively associated with physical IPV included sexual abuse before the age of 14 years (OR = 2.69; 95% CI [1.69, 4.29]), having an alcohol drinking male partner (OR = 4.10; 95% CI [2.48, 6.77] for occasional drinkers and OR = 3.37; 95% CI [2.05, 5.54] for heavy drinkers), and having a male partner with other sexual partners (OR = 1.53; 95% CI [1.15, 2.20]. Education was negatively associated with lifetime IPV.
Conclusion
We have reported on prevalence of IPV violence among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Rwanda, Central Africa. We advocate that screening for IPV be an integral part of HIV and AIDS care, as well as routine antenatal care. Services for battered women should also be made available.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-8-17
PMCID: PMC2570659  PMID: 18847476
Introduction
Violence against women perpetrated by their intimate partners is a social problem with adverse health consequences. Intimate partner violence has acute and chronic as well as direct and indirect health consequences related to physical, psychological, and reproductive health. Studies exploring relationships of intimate partner violence and health consequences are rare in Nepal. Hence, this study aimed to examine the relationships between intimate partner violence and sexually transmitted infections.
Method
This study used data from the nationally representative Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011, which collected data through a two-stage complex sampling technique. Women 15–49 years were asked about domestic violence including intimate partner violence. For this analysis, 3,084 currently married women were included. Questions about domestic violence were adapted from the Conflict Tactic Scale. Relationships between different forms of physical and sexual intimate partner violence and reported signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections were examined using multiple logistic regression analysis.
Results
Approximately 15% of currently young and middle-aged married women experienced some form of violence in the last 12 months. About one in four women who were exposed to physical and sexual intimate partner violence reported sexually transmitted infection in the last 12 months. The odds of getting sexually transmitted infection were 1.88 [95% CI:1.29, 2.73] times higher among women exposed to any form of intimate partner violence in the last 12 months compared to women not exposed to any form of intimate partner violence.
Conclusion
Intimate partner violence was common among currently married women in Nepal. Being exposed to intimate partner violence and getting signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted disease were found to be associated. Integration of intimate partner violence prevention and reproductive health programs is needed to reduce the burden of sexually transmitted disease among currently married women.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S54609
PMCID: PMC3901740  PMID: 24470776
intimate partner violence; socio-demographic; sexually transmitted disease; Nepal
BMC Public Health  2012;12:811.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) can result in significant harm to women and families and is especially prevalent when women are pregnant or recent mothers. Maternal and child health nurses (MCHN) in Victoria, Australia are community-based nurse/midwives who see over 95% of all mothers with newborns. MCHN are in an ideal position to identify and support women experiencing IPV, or refer them to specialist family violence services. Evidence for IPV screening in primary health care is inconclusive to date. The Victorian government recently required nurses to screen all mothers when babies are four weeks old, offering an opportunity to examine the effectiveness of MCHN IPV screening practices. This protocol describes the development and design of MOVE, a study to examine IPV screening effectiveness and the sustainability of screening practice.
Methods/design
MOVE is a cluster randomised trial of a good practice model of MCHN IPV screening involving eight maternal and child health nurse teams in Melbourne, Victoria. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was incorporated into the design, implementation and evaluation of the MOVE trial to enhance and evaluate sustainability. Using NPT, the development stage combined participatory action research with intervention nurse teams and a systematic review of nurse IPV studies to develop an intervention model incorporating consensus guidelines, clinical pathway and strategies for individual nurses, their teams and family violence services. Following twelve months’ implementation, primary outcomes assessed include IPV inquiry, IPV disclosure by women and referral using data from MCHN routine data collection and a survey to all women giving birth in the previous eight months. IPV will be measured using the Composite Abuse Scale. Process and impact evaluation data (online surveys and key stakeholders interviews) will highlight NPT concepts to enhance sustainability of IPV identification and referral. Data will be collected again in two years.
Discussion
MOVE will be the first randomised trial to determine IPV screening effectiveness in a community based nurse setting and the first to examine sustainability of an IPV screening intervention. It will further inform the debate about the effectiveness of IPV screening and describe IPV prevalence in a community based post-partum and early infant population.
Trial registration
ACTRN12609000424202
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-811
PMCID: PMC3564741  PMID: 22994910
Intimate partner violence; Screening; Cluster randomised controlled trial; Maternal and child health nurse
Open Medicine  2007;1(2):e113-e122.
Background
Intimate partner violence against women is prevalent and is associated with poor health outcomes. Understanding indicators of exposure to intimate partner violence can assist health care professionals to identify and respond to abused women. This study was undertaken to determine the strength of association between selected evidence-based risk indicators and exposure to intimate partner violence.
Methods
In this cross-sectional study of 768 English-speaking women aged 18–64 years who presented to 2 emergency departments in Ontario, Canada, participants answered questions about risk indicators and completed the Composite Abuse Scale to determine their exposure to intimate partner violence in the past year.
Results
Intimate partner violence was significantly associated with being separated, in a common-law relationship or single (odds ratio [OR] = 2.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17–3.71); scoring positive for depression (OR = 4.26, 95% CI 2.11–8.60) or somatic symptoms (OR = 4.09, 95% CI 2.18–7.67); having a male partner who was employed less than part time (OR = 5.12, 95% CI 2.46–10.64), or having a partner with an alcohol (OR = 4.36, 95% CI 2.16–8.81) or drug problem (OR = 4.63, 95% CI 1.89–11.38). Each unit increase in the number of indicators corresponded to a four-fold increase in the risk of intimate partner violence (OR = 3.92, 95% CI 3.06–5.02); women with 3 or more indicators had a greater than 50% probability of a positive score on the Composite Abuse Scale. Intimate partner violence was not associated with pregnancy status.
Conclusion
Specific characteristics of male partners, relationships and women’s mental health are significantly related to exposure to intimate partner violence in the past year. Identification of these indicators has implications for the clinical care of women who present to health care settings.
PMCID: PMC2802016  PMID: 20101295
BMJ Open  2015;5(4):e006299.
Objective
To examine patterns of conflict-related violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) and their associations with emotional distress among Congolese refugee women living in Rwanda.
Design
Cross-sectional study.
Setting
Two Congolese refugee camps in Rwanda.
Participants
548 ever-married Congolese refugee women of reproductive age (15–49 years) residing in Rwanda.
Primary outcome measure
Our primary outcome was emotional distress as measured using the Self-Report Questionnaire-20 (SRQ-20). For analysis, we considered participants with scores greater than 10 to be experiencing emotional distress and participants with scores of 10 or less not to be experiencing emotional distress.
Results
Almost half of women (49%) reported experiencing physical, emotional or sexual violence during the conflict, and less than 10% of women reported experiencing of any type of violence after fleeing the conflict. Lifetime IPV was reported by approximately 22% of women. Latent class analysis derived four distinct classes of violence experiences, including the Low All Violence class, the High Violence During Conflict class, the High IPV class and the High Violence During and After Conflict class. In multivariate regression models, latent class was strongly associated with emotional distress. Compared with women in the Low All Violence class, women in the High Violence During and After Conflict class and women in the High Violence During Conflict had 2.7 times (95% CI 1.11 to 6.74) and 2.3 times (95% CI 1.30 to 4.07) the odds of experiencing emotional distress in the past 4 weeks, respectively. Furthermore, women in the High IPV class had a 4.7 times (95% CI 2.53 to 8.59) greater odds of experiencing emotional distress compared with women in the Low All Violence class.
Conclusions
Experiences of IPV do not consistently correlate with experiences of conflict-related violence, and women who experience high levels of IPV may have the greatest likelihood for poor mental health in conflict-affected settings.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006299
PMCID: PMC4410130  PMID: 25908672
EPIDEMIOLOGY; MENTAL HEALTH; STATISTICS & RESEARCH METHODS; PUBLIC HEALTH
Objective:
To assess rates of substance abuse (including tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse) as well as rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) among African-American women seen in an urban emergency department (ED).
Methods:
Eligible participants included all African-American women between the ages of 21–55 years old who were seen in an urban ED for any complaint and triaged to the waiting room. Eligible women who consented to participate completed a computer-based survey that focused on demographic information and general health questions, as well as standardized instruments to screen for alcohol abuse, tobacco abuse, and illicit drug use. This analysis uses results from a larger study evaluating the effects of providing patients with targeted educational literature based on the results of their screening.
Results:
Six-hundred ten women were surveyed; 430 women reported being in a relationship in the past year and among these, 85 women (20%) screened positive for IPV. Women who screened positive for IPV were significantly more likely to also screen positive for tobacco abuse (56% vs. 37.5%, p< 0.001), alcohol abuse (47.1% vs. 23.2%, p < 0.001), and drug abuse (44.7% vs. 9.5%, p<0.001). Women who screened positive for IPV were also more likely to screen positive for depression and report social isolation.
Conclusions:
African-American women seen in the ED, who screen positive for IPV, are at significantly higher risk of drug, alcohol, tobacco abuse, depression and social isolation than women who do not screen positive for IPV. These findings have important implications for ED-based and community-based social services for women who are victims of intimate partner violence.
PMCID: PMC2941362  PMID: 20882145
Background
Most hospitals use paging systems as the principal communication system, despite general dissatisfaction by end users. To this end, we developed an app-based communication system (called Hark) to facilitate and improve the quality of interpersonal communication.
Objective
The objectives of our study were (1) to assess the quality of information transfer using pager- and app-based (Hark) communication systems, (2) to determine whether using mobile phone apps for escalation of care results in additional delays in communication, and (3) to determine how end users perceive mobile phone apps as an alternative to pagers.
Methods
We recruited junior (postgraduate year 1 and 2) doctors and nurses from a range of specialties and randomly assigned them to 2 groups who used either a pager device or the mobile phone-based Hark app. We asked nurses to hand off simulated patients while doctors were asked to receive handoff information using these devices. The quality of information transfer, time taken to respond to messages, and users’ satisfaction with each device was recorded. Each participant used both devices with a 2-week washout period in between uses.
Results
We recruited 22 participants (13 nurses, 9 doctors). The quality of the referrals made by nurses was significantly better when using Hark (Hark median 118, range 100–121 versus pager median 77, range 39–104; P=.001). Doctors responded to messages using Hark more quickly than when responding to pagers, although this difference was not statistically significant (Hark mean 86.6 seconds, SD 96.2 versus pager mean 136.5 seconds, SD 201.0; P=.12). Users rated Hark as significantly better on 11 of the 18 criteria of an information transfer device (P<.05) These included “enhances interprofessional efficiency,” “results in less disturbance,” “performed desired functions reliably,” and “allows me to clearly transfer information.”
Conclusions
Hark improved the quality of transfer of information about simulated patients and was rated by users as more effective and efficient, and less distracting than pagers. Using this device did not result in delay in patient care.
doi:10.2196/jmir.4854
PMCID: PMC4838756  PMID: 27052694
communication; mobile phone; pager; applications; apps; escalation of care; simulation
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001452.
Louise Howard and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence and odds of experience of domestic violence experience among women with antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Domestic violence in the perinatal period is associated with adverse obstetric outcomes, but evidence is limited on its association with perinatal mental disorders. We aimed to estimate the prevalence and odds of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental disorders (depression and anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], eating disorders, and psychoses).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO reference CRD42012002048). Data sources included searches of electronic databases (to 15 February 2013), hand searches, citation tracking, update of a review on victimisation and mental disorder, and expert recommendations. Included studies were peer-reviewed experimental or observational studies that reported on women aged 16 y or older, that assessed the prevalence and/or odds of having experienced domestic violence, and that assessed symptoms of perinatal mental disorder using a validated instrument. Two reviewers screened 1,125 full-text papers, extracted data, and independently appraised study quality. Odds ratios were pooled using meta-analysis.
Sixty-seven papers were included. Pooled estimates from longitudinal studies suggest a 3-fold increase in the odds of high levels of depressive symptoms in the postnatal period after having experienced partner violence during pregnancy (odds ratio 3.1, 95% CI 2.7–3.6). Increased odds of having experienced domestic violence among women with high levels of depressive, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms in the antenatal and postnatal periods were consistently reported in cross-sectional studies. No studies were identified on eating disorders or puerperal psychosis. Analyses were limited because of study heterogeneity and lack of data on baseline symptoms, preventing clear findings on causal directionality.
Conclusions
High levels of symptoms of perinatal depression, anxiety, and PTSD are significantly associated with having experienced domestic violence. High-quality evidence is now needed on how maternity and mental health services should address domestic violence and improve health outcomes for women and their infants in the perinatal period.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Domestic violence—physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by an intimate partner or family member—is a major public health problem and although more common in women, can also affect men. Due to the nature of the problem, it is difficult to collect accurate figures on the scale of domestic violence, but a study by the World Health Organization in ten countries found that 15%–71% of women aged 15–49 years reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Women experiencing domestic violence have significant short- and long-term health problems, particularly regarding their mental health: experience of domestic violence can lead to a range of mental health disorders such as depression, psychosis, eating disorders, and even suicide attempts.
Why Was This Study Done?
As perinatal mental health disorders are among the commonest health problems in pregnancy and the postpartum period, and given the rate of domestic violence during pregnancy (previous studies have suggested a domestic violence prevalence of 4%–8% during pregnancy and the postnatal period), it is plausible that there may be a link between perinatal mental health disorders and having experienced domestic violence. Indeed, previous reviews have suggested the existence of such an association but were limited by the small number of included studies and focused on depression only, rather than the full range of antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders. So in this study the researchers systematically reviewed published studies to provide more robust estimates of the prevalence of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders; the researchers also used a meta-analysis to estimate the odds (chance) of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched multiple databases and hand searched three relevant journals using key search terms to identify all types of relevant studies. Using specific criteria, the researchers retrieved and assessed over 1,000 full papers, of which 67 met the criteria for their systematic review. The researchers assessed the quality of each selected study and included only those studies that used validated diagnostic instruments and screening tools to assess mental health disorders in their calculations of the pooled (combined) odds ratio (OR) through meta-analysis.
Using these methods, in cross-sectional studies (studies conducted at one point in time), the researchers found that women with probable depression in the antenatal period reported a high prevalence and increased odds of having experienced partner violence during their lifetime (OR = 3), during the past year (OR = 2.8), and during pregnancy (OR = 5). The results were similar for the postnatal period. The evidence was less robust for anxiety disorders: among women with probable anxiety in the antenatal period, the researchers found an OR of 2.9 of having experienced lifetime partner violence. The odds were less in the postnatal period (OR = 1.4) In their analysis of longitudinal studies (follow-up studies over a period of time), the researchers found an increased odds of probable postnatal depression both among women who reported having ever experienced partner violence in their lifetime (OR = 2.9) and among women who reported having experienced partner violence during pregnancy (OR = 3.1). The researchers also found a combined prevalence estimate of 12.7% for probable depression during the postnatal period following experiences of partner violence during pregnancy. Because of limited data, the researchers could not calculate an OR of the association between probable antenatal depression and later experiences of partner violence.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that women with high levels of symptoms of perinatal mental health disorders—antenatal and postnatal anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder—have a high prevalence and increased odds of having experienced domestic violence both over their lifetime and during pregnancy. However, these findings cannot prove causality, they fail to show a two-way association (that is, perinatal mental health disorders leading to subsequent domestic violence), and no information on other perinatal mental disorders, such as eating disorders and puerperal psychosis, was available. The variation of the quality of the included studies also limits the results, highlighting the need for high-quality data to suggest how maternity and mental health services could address domestic violence and improve health outcomes for women and their infants in the future. Nevertheless, this study emphasizes the importance of identifying and responding to possible domestic violence among women attending antenatal and mental health services.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001452.
The World Health Organization provides information and statistics about violence against women and also about mental health disorders during pregnancy
The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists has information for professionals and patients about mental health disorders during pregnancy
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001452
PMCID: PMC3665851  PMID: 23723741
Headache  2010;51(2):208-219.
Objective
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among women is a global public health problem. The association between childhood maltreatment and migraine is well established, but not the association between IPV and migraine. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the relationship between type and severity of IPV and migraine in a large cohort of Peruvian women.
Methods
Women who delivered singleton infants (N=2,066) at the Instituto Nacional Materno Perinatal, Lima, Peru were interviewed during their post-partum hospital stay. Participants were queried about their lifetime experiences with headaches and migraine, and with physical and sexual violence. The International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-2) diagnostic criteria were used to classify participants according to their migraine status. Questions on physical and sexual violence were adapted from the protocol of Demographic Health Survey Questionnaires and Modules: Domestic Violence Module and the World Health Organization (WHO) Multi-Country Study on Violence against Women. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Subset. Logistic regression was used to estimate multivariate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Results
Compared with women without a history of violence, women with experiences of lifetime physical or sexual violence (aOR=1.44, 95% CI 1.19–1.75), physical violence only (aOR=1.36, 95% CI 1.10–1.68), sexual violence only (aOR=1.76, 95% CI 0.97–3.21) and both physical and sexual violence (aOR=1.61, 95% CI 1.12–2.31) had increased odds of any migraine after adjusting for maternal age, parity and access to basic foods. There was no gradient of increased odds of any migraine with severity of physical violence. The relationship between IPV and any migraine was strongest among women with depressive symptoms. The odds of any migraine was increased 2.25-fold (95% CI 1.75–2.28) among abused women who also had depressive symptoms compared with non-abused and non-depressed women. Associations from sensitivity analyses that segregated women according to probable migraine (ICHD-2 category 1.6.1) and migraine (ICHD-2 category 1.1) diagnoses were of similar magnitudes as those reported here for women with any migraine diagnoses. IPV, particularly sexual violence, appears to be a risk factor for migraine.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest the potential importance of considering a history of violence among migraineurs.
doi:10.1111/j.1526-4610.2010.01777.x
PMCID: PMC3662491  PMID: 20946432
ABSTRACT
Background
Research has documented greater health care costs attributable to intimate partner violence (IPV) among women during and after exposure. However, no studies have determined whether health care costs for abused women return to baseline levels at some point after their abuse ceases.
Objective
We examine whether health care costs among women exposed to IPV converge with those of non-abused women during a 10-year period following the end of exposure.
Design
Retrospective cohort analysis.
Setting
Group Health Cooperative, a large integrated health care system in the Pacific Northwest.
Participants
Random sample of English-speaking women aged 18–64 enrolled within Group Health and who participated in a telephone survey between June 2003 and August 2005.
Measurements
Total health care costs over an 11-year period from January 1, 1992 to December 31, 2002 were compiled using automated health plan data and comparisons made among women exposed to IPV since age 18 and those who never experienced IPV. IPV included physical, sexual, or psychological violence involving an intimate partner, and was assessed using five questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Results
Relative to women with no IPV history, total health care costs were significantly higher during IPV exposure, costs that were sustained for 3 years following the end of exposure. By the 4th year following the end of exposure to IPV, health care costs among IPV-exposed women were similar to non-abused women, and this pattern held for the remainder of the 10-year study period.
Conclusions
Policy makers should consider the ongoing needs of victims following abuse exposure. Interventions to reduce the prevalence of IPV or to mitigate the impact of IPV have the potential to reduce the rate of growth of health care costs.
doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1359-0
PMCID: PMC2917667  PMID: 20414736
intimate partner violence (IPV); health care costs; retrospective analysis
BMC Public Health  2014;14:223.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is yet to be fully acknowledged as a public health problem in Slovenia. This study aimed to explore the health and other patient characteristics associated with psychological IPV exposure and gender-related specificity in family clinic attendees.
Methods
In a multi-centre cross-sectional study, 960 family practice attendees aged 18 years and above were recruited. In 689 interviews with currently- or previously-partnered patients, the short form of A Domestic Violence Exposure Questionnaire and additional questions about behavioural patterns of exposure to psychological abuse in the past year were given. General practitioners (GPs) reviewed the medical charts of 470 patients who met the IPV exposure criteria. The Domestic Violence Exposure Medical Chart Check List was used, collecting data on the patients’ lives and physical, sexual and reproductive, and psychological health status, as well as sick leave, hospitalisation, visits to family practices and referrals to other clinical specialists in the past year. In multivariate logistic regression modelling the factors associated with past year psychological IPV exposure were identified, with P < 0.05 set as the level of statistical significance.
Results
Of the participants (n = 470), 12.1% (n = 57) were exposed to psychological IPV in the previous year (46 women and 11 men). They expressed more complaints regarding sexual and reproductive (p = 0.011), and psychological and behavioural status (p <0.001), in the year prior to the survey. Unemployment or working part-time, a college degree, an intimate relationship of six years or more and a history of disputes in the intimate relationship, increased the odds of psychological IPV exposure in the sample, explaining 41% of the variance. In females, unemployment and a history of disputes in the intimate relationship explained 43% of the variance.
Conclusions
The prevalence of psychological IPV above 10% during the past year was similar to earlier studies in Slovenia, although the predominance of better-educated people might be associated with lower tolerance toward psychological abuse. GPs should pay special attention to unemployed patients and those complaining about family disputes, to increase early detection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-223
PMCID: PMC3975876  PMID: 24593032
Intimate partner violence; Psychological abuse; Employment status; Disputes in intimate relationship; Level of education
BMC Research Notes  2015;8:814.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global public health problem that affects women’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Very little data on IPV experience and FP use is available in resource-poor settings, such as in West Africa. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence, patterns and correlates of IPV among clients of an adult Family Planning clinic in Conakry, Guinea.
Methods
The study data was collected for four months (March to June 2014) from women’s family planning charts and from an IPV screening form at the Adult Family Planning and Reproductive Health Clinic of “Association Guinéenne pour le Bien-Etre Familial”, a non-profit organization in Conakry, Guinea. 232 women out of 245 women who attended the clinic for services during the study period were screened for IPV and were included in this study.
Results
Of the 232 women screened, 213 (92 %) experienced IPV in one form or another at some point in their lifetime. 169 women reported psychological violence (79.3 %), 145 reported sexual violence (68.1 %) and 103 reported physical violence (48.4 %). Nearly a quarter of women reported joint occurrence of the three forms of violence(24 %).Half of the IPV positive women were current users of family planning (51.2 %) and of these, 77.9 % preferred injectable contraceptives. The odds of experiencing IPV was higher in women with secondary or vocational level of education than those with higher level of education (AOR: 8.4; 95 % CI 1.2–58.5). Women residing in other communes of Conakry (AOR: 5.6; 95 % CI 1.4–22.9) and those preferring injectable FP methods (AOR: 4.5; 95 % CI 1.2–16.8) were more likely to experience lifetime IPV.
Conclusions
IPV is prevalent among family planning clients in Conakry, Guinea where nine out of ten women screened in the AGBEF adult clinic reported having experienced one or another type of IPV. A holistic approach that includes promotion of women’s rights and gender equality, existence of laws and policies is needed to prevent and respond to IPV, effective implementation of policies and laws, and access to quality IPV services in Guinea and countries with higher rates of IPV.
doi:10.1186/s13104-015-1811-7
PMCID: PMC4690260  PMID: 26697849
Intimate partner violence; Family planning; Prevalence; Correlates; Factors; Patterns; Guinea
OBJECTIVE
To determine if women who experience low-severity violence differ in numbers of physical symptoms, psychological distress, or substance abuse from women who have never been abused and from women who experience high-severity violence.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional, self-administered, anonymous survey.
SETTING
Four community-based, primary care, internal medicine practices.
PATIENTS
Survey respondents were 1,931 women aged 18 years or older.
SURVEY DESIGN
Survey included questions on violence; a checklist of 22 physical symptoms; the Symptom Checklist-22 (SCL-22) to measure depression, anxiety, somatization, and self-esteem; CAGE questions for alcohol use; and questions about past medical history.Low-severity violence patientshad been “pushed or grabbed” or had someone “threaten to hurt them or someone they love” in the year prior to presentation.High-severity violence patientshad been hit, slapped, kicked, burned, choked, or threatened or hurt with a weapon.
RESULTS
Of the 1,931 women, 47 met criteria for current low-severity violence without prior abuse, and 79 met criteria for current high-severity violence without prior abuse, and 1,257 had never experienced violence. The remaining patients reported either childhood violence or past adult abuse. When adjusted for socioeconomic characteristics, the number of physical symptoms increased with increasing severity of violence (4.3 for no violence, 5.3 for low-severity violence, 6.4 for high-severity violence, p < .0001). Psychological distress also increased with increasing severity of violence (mean total SCL-22 scores 32.6 for no violence, 35.7 for low-severity violence, 39.5 for high-severity violence, p < .0001). Women with any current violence were more likely to have a history of substance abuse (prevalence ratio [PR] 1.8 for low-severity, 1.9 for high-severity violence) and to have a substance-abusing partner (PR 2.4 for both violence groups).
CONCLUSIONS
In this study, even low-severity violence was associated with physical and psychological health problems in women. The data suggest a dose-response relation between the severity of violence and the degree of physical and psychological distress.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00205.x
PMCID: PMC1500898  PMID: 9798816
violence, severity; women's health
Annals of epidemiology  2008;19(1):25-32.
Purpose
We sought to examine the relation between childhood family violence and intimate partner violence (IPV).
Methods
We surveyed 1,615 couples from the US household population using multistage cluster sampling. Childhood family violence measures included moderate and severe child physical abuse and witnessing interparental threats or physical violence. IPV was categorized as non-reciprocal male-to-female partner violence (MFPV), non-reciprocal female-to-male partner violence (FMPV); reciprocal IPV (MFPV and FMPV) and no IPV. We used multinomial logistic regression to estimate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between childhood family violence and IPV.
Results
Men who experienced moderate (adjusted OR [AOR] 3.9, 95% CI: 1.3, 11.8) or severe (AOR 4.5, 95% CI: 1.1, 19.3) child physical abuse were at increased risk of non-reciprocal MFPV; a male history of severe childhood physical abuse or witnessing interparental violence was associated with a two-fold increased risk of reciprocal IPV. Women who witnessed interparental threats of violence (AOR 1.9, 95% CI: 0.8, 4.6) or interparental physical violence (AOR 3.4, 95% CI: 1.5, 7.9) in childhood were at increased risk of non-reciprocal FMPV. Women exposed to any type of childhood family violence were more than 1.5 times as likely to engage in reciprocal IPV. Many strong positive ORs had CIs compatible with no association.
Conclusion
We provide new evidence that childhood family violence is associated with an increased risk of non-reciprocal and reciprocal IPV. Treatment providers and policy makers should consider childhood family violence history in both men and women in the context of IPV.
doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.08.008
PMCID: PMC2649768  PMID: 18835525
child abuse; violence; spouse abuse; partner abuse; battered women; abused women
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000614.
Objectives
To investigate the prescription of potentially addictive drugs, including analgesics and central nervous system depressants, to women who had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV).
Design
Prospective population-based cohort study.
Setting
Information about IPV from the Oslo Health Study 2000/2001 was linked with prescription data from the Norwegian Prescription Database from 1 January 2004 through 31 December 2009.
Participants
The study included 6081 women aged 30–60 years.
Main outcome measures
Prescription rate ratios (RRs) for potentially addictive drugs derived from negative binomial models, adjusted for age, education, paid employment, marital status, chronic musculoskeletal pain, mental distress and sleep problems.
Results
Altogether 819 (13.5%) of 6081 women reported ever experiencing IPV: 454 (7.5%) comprised physical and/or sexual IPV and 365 (6.0%) psychological IPV alone. Prescription rates for potentially addictive drugs were clearly higher among women who had experienced IPV: crude RRs were 3.57 (95% CI 2.89 to 4.40) for physical/sexual IPV and 2.13 (95% CI 1.69 to 2.69) for psychological IPV alone. After full adjustment RRs were 1.83 (1.50 to 2.22) for physical/sexual IPV, and 1.97 (1.59 to 2.45) for psychological IPV alone. Prescription rates were increased both for potentially addictive analgesics and central nervous system depressants. Furthermore, women who reported IPV were more likely to receive potentially addictive drugs from multiple physicians.
Conclusions
Women who had experienced IPV, including psychological violence alone, more often received prescriptions for potentially addictive drugs. Researchers and clinicians should address the possible adverse health and psychosocial impact of such prescription and focus on developing evidence-based healthcare for women who have experienced IPV.
Article summary
Article focus
Cross-sectional studies have suggested that IPV is associated with increased medication use in women.
Although substance abuse is common among women who have experienced IPV, former studies have not addressed the prescription of drugs with addiction potential.
We assessed the relationship of IPV to prescription rates for potentially addictive drugs, including analgesics and central nervous system depressants, for women in Oslo, Norway.
Key messages
This longitudinal study showed that women who had experienced IPV, including psychological violence alone, more often received prescriptions for potentially addictive drugs compared with other women.
Prescription rates were increased both for potentially addictive analgesics and central nervous system depressants.
Women who had experienced IPV more often received prescriptions from multiple physicians.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A major strength is the prospective and accurate measurement of drug prescriptions from a national register. The study is population-based and adds new information about the prescription of restricted drugs with verified addictive potential to women with experiences of IPV.
Limitations of the study include the low participation rate and the lack of prescription data between the Oslo Health Study in 2000/2001 until the establishment of the Norwegian Prescription Database in 2004. We had no information if IPV was assessed in connection with prescription and cannot evaluate the appropriateness of drug prescription.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000614
PMCID: PMC3323816  PMID: 22492384
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious health concern for women in the U.S, and HIV-positive women experience more frequent and severe abuse compared to HIV-negative women. The goals of this study were to determine the prevalence of IPV among HIV-infected women receiving care in an urban clinic and to determine the HIV clinical and mental health correlates of IPV among HIV-positive women.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional survey among 196 women visiting an inner city HIV clinic. Women were eligible if they were 18 years of age or older, English speaking and received both HIV primary and gynecological care at the clinic. The survey queried demographics, drug and alcohol history, depressive symptoms, and IPV, using the Partner Violence Scale (PVS). Antiretroviral therapy (ART), CD4 cell count, HIV-1 RNA level, and appointment adherence were abstracted from clinical records.
Findings
Overall, 26.5% of women reported experiencing IPV in the past year. There were no significant differences in sociodemographics, substance use, ART prescription, CD4 count or HIV-1 RNA level between women who experienced IPV and those who had not. Women with mild and severe depressive symptoms were significantly more likely to report IPV compared to those without, with adjusted odds ratios of 3.4 and 5.5, respectively. Women who missed gynecological appointments were 1.9 times more likely to report experiencing IPV.
Conclusions
IPV is prevalent among women presenting for HIV care, and depressive symptoms or missed gynecological appointments should prompt further screening for IPV.
doi:10.1016/j.whi.2012.07.007
PMCID: PMC3489982  PMID: 22939089
HIV/AIDS; intimate partner violence; appointment adherence; depressive symptoms
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0136321.
In Sri Lanka, over one in three women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization in their lifetime, making it a serious public health concern. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as child abuse and neglect, witnessing domestic violence, parental separation, and bullying are also widespread. Studies in Western settings have shown positive associations between ACEs and IPV perpetration in adulthood, but few have examined this relationship in a non-Western context. In the present study, we examined the association of ACEs with IPV perpetration among Sri Lankan men surveyed for the UN Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific. We found statistically significant positive associations between the number of ACE categories (ACE score) and emotional, financial, physical, and sexual IPV perpetration among Sri Lankan men. We analyzed the contributions of each ACE category and found that childhood abuse was strongly associated with perpetration of IPV in adulthood, with sexual abuse associated with the greatest increase in odds of perpetration (Adjusted odds ratio 2.36; 95% confidence interval: 1.69, 3.30). Witnessing abuse of one’s mother was associated with the greatest increase in the odds of perpetrating physical IPV (AOR 1.82; 95% CI: 1.29, 2.58), while lack of a male parental figure was not associated with physical IPV perpetration (AOR 0.76; 95% CI: 0.53, 1.09). These findings support a social learning theory of IPV perpetration, in which children who are exposed to violence learn to perpetrate IPV in adulthood. They also suggest that in Sri Lanka, being raised in a female-headed household does not increase the risk of IPV perpetration in adulthood compared to being raised in a household with a male parental figure. The relationship between being raised in a female-headed household (the number of which increased dramatically during Sri Lanka’s recent civil war) and perpetration of IPV warrants further study. Interventions that aim to decrease childhood abuse in Sri Lanka could both protect children now and reduce IPV in the future, decreasing violence on multiple fronts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0136321
PMCID: PMC4546656  PMID: 26295577
BMC Public Health  2009;9:350.
Background
Although reducing intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pervasive public health problem, few longitudinal studies in developing countries have assessed ways to end such abuse. To this end, this paper aims to analyze individual, family, community and societal factors that facilitate reducing IPV.
Methods
A longitudinal population-based study was conducted in León, Nicaragua at a demographic surveillance site. Women (n = 478) who were pregnant between 2002 and 2003 were interviewed, and 398 were found at follow-up, 2007. Partner abuse was measured using the WHO Multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence questionnaire. Women's socio demographic variables, perceived emotional distress, partner control, social resources, women's norms and attitudes towards IPV and help-seeking behaviours were also assessed. Ending of abuse was defined as having experienced any abuse in a lifetime or during pregnancy but not at follow-up. Crude and adjusted odds ratios were applied.
Results
Of the women exposed to lifetime or pregnancy IPV, 59% reported that their abuse ended. This finding took place in a context of a substantial shift in women's normative attitudes towards not tolerating abuse. At the family level, no or diminishing partner control [ORadj 6.7 (95%CI 3.5-13)] was associated with ending of abuse. At the societal level, high or improved social resources [ORadj 2.0 (95%CI 1.1.-3.7)] were also associated with the end of abuse.
Conclusion
A considerable proportion of women reported end of violence. This might be related to a favourable change in women's norms and attitudes toward gender roles and violence and a more positive attitude towards interventions from people outside their family to end abuse. Maintaining and improving social resources and decreasing partner control and isolation are key interventions to ending abuse. Abuse inquiring may also play an important role in this process and must include health care provider's training and a referral system to be more effective. Interventions at the community level are crucial to reducing partner violence.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-350
PMCID: PMC2754464  PMID: 19765299

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