Methods for estimating medical expenditures attributable to intimate partner violence

J Interpers Violence. 2008 Dec;23(12):1747-66. doi: 10.1177/0886260508314338. Epub 2008 Feb 26.


This article compares three methods for estimating the medical cost burden of intimate partner violence against U.S. adult women (18 years and older), 1 year postvictimization. To compute the estimates, prevalence data from the National Violence Against Women Survey are combined with cost data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the Medicare 5% sample, and published studies and with relative risk estimates from published studies. Results are compared and reasons for difference are explored, including the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Estimates of the medical cost burden of intimate partner violence within the first 12 months after victimization range from USD 2.3 billion to USD 7.0 billion, depending on the method used. Although limited to women victimized in the last year, each method reveals that intimate partner violence imposes a substantial burden on the health care system. Among the approaches, there is no clear gold standard nor any evidence of bias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / economics*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health / economics*
  • Women's Health Services / economics*
  • Women's Health Services / statistics & numerical data