Objective: Our purpose was to examine the associations between demographics and reproductive characteristics on the occurrence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in young women.
Study design: An anonymous questionnaire was completed by 727 women between 14 and 26 years old who were seen in the family planning clinics in southeast Texas between March 1997 and February 1998 and who reported a current spouse or partner. Subjects completed a standardized measure of violence perpetrated by a partner and provided information on demographics and reproductive characteristics. Separate logistic regression analyses were used to analyze factors associated with physical and verbal violence.
Results: Significant and positive associations with physical violence were found for race, employment, and parity (> or =1); risk of verbal abuse included employment, history of sexual abuse, and inconsistent condom and prescription contraceptive use. Protective factors for physical violence included education level, use of hormonal methods of contraception or condoms at last intercourse, and older age at first intercourse and at first childbirth; protection from verbal assault included dual contraceptive use, as well as barrier and hormonal contraception at last intercourse.
Conclusion: Different patterns of risk emerge between physical and verbal assault among young women seen in a publicly funded family planning clinic. Minority parous women with limited education, early onset of sexual activity, and who report no contraception use at last intercourse appear to be at highest risk for reporting physical violence, whereas history of sexual victimization, early sexual activity, and younger age at first child birth elevates risk for verbal abuse.