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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


PLAZAOLA-CASTANO, Juncal; RUIZ-PEREZ, Isabel; MONTERO-PINAR, María Isabel  and  GRUPO DE ESTUDIO PARA LA VIOLENCIA DE GENERO. The protective role of social support and intimate partner violence. Gac Sanit [online]. 2008, vol.22, n.6, pp.527-533. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To describe the relationship between the presence of social support and overall support from different sources and intimate partner violence in women attending primary care centers irrespective of reason. Method: We performed a cross-sectional survey in 1,402 women aged 18 to 65 years old, randomly selected from 23 primary health practices in the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Madrid and Valencia (Spain) in 2003. The information on sociodemographic characteristics, physical, psychological and sexual intimate partner violence, and social support was gathered using an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire. Results: Thirty-two percent of the women stated they had been abused by a partner (physically, psychologically or sexually) at some time in their lives. Women who reported having social support had a 89% lower probability of having been abused by a partner at some time than women who reported not having social support (odds ratio [OR] = 0.11; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 0.06-0.20). Among women who reported abuse by a partner in the past, those who stated they had social support had a lower probability of being abused again by a different partner than those who had no social support (OR = 0.14; 95%CI: 0.05-0.37). Conclusions: The cross-sectional design of this study does not allow us to determine whether lack of social support increases women's vulnerability to being abused, or whether social isolation is a consequence of partner abuse. Nevertheless, interventions in women experiencing abuse their partners should aim to reestablish their social networks.

Keywords : Spain; Spouse abuse; Domestic violence; Social support; Primary care.

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