Intersections of harm and health: a qualitative study of intimate partner violence in women's lives

Violence Against Women. 2008 Nov;14(11):1252-73. doi: 10.1177/1077801208324529. Epub 2008 Sep 22.


Eight focus groups of women with recent exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) were conducted to elicit women's descriptions of how IPV affects their health. Their shared narratives reveal a complex relationship with three main points of intersection between IPV and health: IPV leading to adverse health effects; IPV worsening already compromised health; and women's illness or disability increasing dependency on abusive partners, thereby lengthening the duration of IPV exposure. Women describe bidirectional and cyclical ways through which IPV and health intersect over time. Service providers, including physicians, need to better understand the myriad ways that abuse affects women's health.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health*