Maternal experiences of intimate partner violence and child morbidity in Bangladesh: evidence from a national Bangladeshi sample

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009 Aug;163(8):700-5. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.115.


Objective: To provide an estimate of the risk of recent acute respiratory tract infection (ARI) and diarrhea among children 5 years and younger based on recent violence against their mothers.

Design: The 2004 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey, conducted from January 1 to May 31, 2004.

Setting: Selected urban and rural areas of Bangladesh.

Participants: A total of 1592 women currently married, with at least 1 child 5 years of age or younger, each living with her husband and child(ren). Main Exposure Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women. Outcomes Measures The prevalence of past-year IPV was calculated. The risk of ARI and diarrhea within the past 2 weeks among young children was determined based on maternal experiences of IPV within the past year via analyses adjusted for demographics and environmental risks.

Results: More than 2 of 5 married Bangladeshi mothers (42.4%) with children aged 5 years and younger experienced IPV from their husbands in the past year. Mothers who experienced IPV were more likely to report recent ARI (adjusted odds ratio, 1.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.83) and diarrhea (adjusted odds ratio, 1.65; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-2.38) among their young children compared with those who did not experience IPV.

Conclusions: Large numbers of married Bangladeshi women with young children experience IPV. Associations of maternal experiences of IPV with 2 leading causes of childhood mortality strongly suggest that such abuse threatens not only the health of women but also that of their children. Prevention of IPV perpetration by men may be critical to the improvement of maternal and child health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers*
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires