Spousal violence against women and suicidal ideation in Bangladesh

Womens Health Issues. Nov-Dec 2008;18(6):442-52. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2008.07.003.


Objective: This paper explores suicidal ideation among reproductive-aged, ever-married women in Bangladesh and its association with physical, sexual, and emotional violence by their husband.

Methods: Population-based data were used in this analysis from a 2001 survey conducted as part of World Health Organization multicountry study on domestic violence against women in rural and urban Bangladesh. All ever-married, reproductive-aged women participating in the survey (n=2,702) were included in the current analysis. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was used for assessing association between violence and suicidal ideation among women.

Results: Results show that the prevalence of lifetime suicidal ideation among reproductive aged ever-married women in Bangladesh was high (11%-14%) compared with other countries in the world. About 5%-6% of the ever-married women in the rural and urban sites reported having suicidal ideation during the last 4 weeks. Compared with emotionally nonabused women, suicidal ideation during the last 4 weeks was twice as likely among rural women and 3 times more likely among urban women reporting emotional violence by their husband during the last 12 months. Rural women who were severely physically abused by their husband during the last 12 months were 4 times more likely and urban women twice as likely to report suicidal ideation during the last 4 weeks compared with women who were not exposed to such violence. Suicidal ideation was not associated with sexual violence by the husband in any of the study sites.

Conclusion: Severe physical and emotional violence against women has to be addressed to reduce suicidal ideation among women manifesting severe mental health problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Battered Women / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Health
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Urban Health
  • Young Adult