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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


SONEGO, Michela et al. Unperceived intimate partner violence and women's health. Gac Sanit [online]. 2013, vol.27, n.5, pp.440-446. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: Women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) often do not perceive themselves as abused. This study sought to estimate the health effects of unperceived IPV (uIPV), taking violence-free women as the reference, and to compare the effects of uIPV with those of perceived IPV (pIPV). Method: We performed a cross-sectional population study through telephone interviews of 2835 women aged 18 to 70 years living in the region of Madrid and having an ongoing intimate partner relationship or contact with a former partner in the preceding year. Based on 26 questions from the Conflict Tactics Scale-1 and the Enquête Nacional sur les Violences envers les Femmes en France and the question "Do you feel abused by your partner?" a variable was constructed in three categories, namely, the absence of IPV, uIPV and pIPV. Using logistic regression, we analyzed the association between health problems, medication use, health-service utilization and IPV (perceived and unperceived) vis-à-vis the absence of IPV. Results: There were 247 cases of uIPV and 96 of pIPV (prevalences of 8.8% and 3.4%, respectively). The multivariate analysis showed that a substantial number of the outcomes explored were associated with uIPV, pIPV, or both. The highest odds ratios (ORs) were obtained for depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 > 10) (uIPV: OR 3.4, 95% CI 2.4-3.8; and pIPV: 4.1, 95%CI 2.5-6.8). In most problems, the ORs did not significantly differ between the two types of IPV. Conclusions: uIPV is 2.6 times more frequent than pIPV and is associated with at least as many health problems as pIPV.

Keywords : Violence against women; Intimate partner violence; Women's health; Epidemiology; Population-based survey.

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