Physical and mental health effects of intimate partner violence for men and women

Am J Prev Med. 2002 Nov;23(4):260-8. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(02)00514-7.


Background: Few population-based studies have assessed the physical and mental health consequences of both psychological and physical intimate partner violence (IPV) among women or men victims. This study estimated IPV prevalence by type (physical, sexual, and psychological) and associated physical and mental health consequences among women and men.

Methods: The study analyzed data from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) of women and men aged 18 to 65. This random-digit-dial telephone survey included questions about violent victimization and health status indicators.

Results: A total of 28.9% of 6790 women and 22.9% of 7122 men had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological IPV during their lifetime. Women were significantly more likely than men to experience physical or sexual IPV (relative risk [RR]=2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.1, 2.4) and abuse of power and control (RR=1.1, 95% CI=1.0, 1.2), but less likely than men to report verbal abuse alone (RR=0.8, 95% CI=0.7, 0.9). For both men and women, physical IPV victimization was associated with increased risk of current poor health; depressive symptoms; substance use; and developing a chronic disease, chronic mental illness, and injury. In general, abuse of power and control was more strongly associated with these health outcomes than was verbal abuse. When physical and psychological IPV scores were both included in logistic regression models, higher psychological IPV scores were more strongly associated with these health outcomes than were physical IPV scores.

Conclusions: Both physical and psychological IPV are associated with significant physical and mental health consequences for both male and female victims.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Domestic Violence / trends*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors