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Risk factors for domestic physical violence: national cross-sectional household surveys in eight southern African countries

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      Abstract

      Background

      The baseline to assess impact of a mass education-entertainment programme offered an opportunity to identify risk factors for domestic physical violence.

      Methods

      In 2002, cross-sectional household surveys in a stratified urban/rural last-stage random sample of enumeration areas, based on latest national census in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Working door to door, interviewers contacted all adults aged 16–60 years present on the day of the visit, without sub-sampling. 20,639 adults were interviewed. The questionnaire in 29 languages measured domestic physical violence by the question "In the last year, have you and your partner had violent arguments where your partner beat, kicked or slapped you?" There was no measure of severity or frequency of physical violence.

      Results

      14% of men (weighted based on 1,294/8,113) and 18% of women (weighted based on 2,032/11,063) reported being a victim of partner physical violence in the last year. There was no convincing association with age, income, education, household size and remunerated occupation. Having multiple partners was strongly associated with partner physical violence. Other associations included the income gap within households, negative attitudes about sexuality (for example, men have the right to sex with their girlfriends if they buy them gifts) and negative attitudes about sexual violence (for example, forcing your partner to have sex is not rape). Particularly among men, experience of partner physical violence was associated with potentially dangerous attitudes to HIV infection.

      Conclusion

      Having multiple partners was the most consistent risk factor for domestic physical violence across all countries. This could be relevant to domestic violence prevention strategies.

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      Most cited references 28

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      Statistical aspects of the analysis of data from retrospective studies of disease.

       N Mantel,  W Haenszel (1959)
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        Health consequences of intimate partner violence.

        Intimate partner violence, which describes physical or sexual assault, or both, of a spouse or sexual intimate, is a common health-care issue. In this article, I have reviewed research on the mental and physical health sequelae of such violence. Increased health problems such as injury, chronic pain, gastrointestinal, and gynaecological signs including sexually-transmitted diseases, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are well documented by controlled research in abused women in various settings. Intimate partner violence has been noted in 3-13% of pregnancies in many studies from around the world, and is associated with detrimental outcomes to mothers and infants. I recommend increased assessment and interventions for intimate partner violence in health-care settings.
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          Intimate partner violence: causes and prevention.

           Rachel Jewkes (2002)
          Unlike many health problems, there are few social and demographic characteristics that define risk groups for intimate partner violence. Poverty is the exception and increases risk through effects on conflict, women's power, and male identity. Violence is used as a strategy in conflict. Relationships full of conflict, and especially those in which conflicts occur about finances, jealousy, and women's gender role transgressions are more violent than peaceful relationships. Heavy alcohol consumption also increases risk of violence. Women who are more empowered educationally, economically, and socially are most protected, but below this high level the relation between empowerment and risk of violence is non-linear. Violence is frequently used to resolve a crisis of male identity, at times caused by poverty or an inability to control women. Risk of violence is greatest in societies where the use of violence in many situations is a socially-accepted norm. Primary preventive interventions should focus on improving the status of women and reducing norms of violence, poverty, and alcohol consumption.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Centro de Investigación de Enfermedades Tropicales (CIET), Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Acapulco, México
            [2 ]CIET Trust, 71 Oxford Road, Saxonwold 2193, South Africa
            [3 ]Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication, 2nd Floor Park Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa
            Contributors
            Journal
            BMC Womens Health
            BMC Women's Health
            BioMed Central (London )
            1472-6874
            2007
            16 July 2007
            : 7
            : 11
            2042491
            1472-6874-7-11
            17631689
            10.1186/1472-6874-7-11
            Copyright © 2007 Andersson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Research Article

            Obstetrics & Gynecology

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