Intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with a range of adverse physical health outcomes, including chronic and infectious diseases. An emerging literature suggests that partner violence and specifically sexual violence may be associated with an increased risk of cervical neoplasia. To assess the risk of preinvasive and invasive cervical cancer in a cross-sectional study of women screened for IPV by type, frequency and duration, 1152 women ages 18-65 were recruited from family practice clinics in 1997-1998. They were screened for IPV during a brief in-clinic interview, and health history and current status were assessed in a follow-up interview. Of 1152 women surveyed, 14 (1.2%) reported cervical cancer, and 20. 3% (n = 234) reported treatment for cervical neoplasia. Ever experiencing IPV was associated with an increased risk of invasive cervical cancer (adjusted relative risk [aRR] = 4.28; 95% CI 1.94, 18.39) and with preinvasive cervical neoplasia (aRR = 1.47; 95% CI 1. 16, 1.82). This association was stronger for women experiencing physical or sexual IPV than for women experiencing psychological IPV. Women with cervical cancer reported being in violent relationships longer and experiencing more frequent physical and sexual assaults and more IPV-associated injuries than did controls. This exploratory study suggests that IPV may increase a woman's risk of cervical neoplasia. The mechanism by which IPV effects cervical neoplasia may be indirect through psychosocial stress or negative coping behaviors or direct through sexual assaults and transmission of human papillomavirus (HPV).