Community-level influences on women's experience of intimate partner violence and terminated pregnancy in Nigeria: a multilevel analysis

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2012 Nov 14;12:128. doi: 10.1186/1471-2393-12-128.


Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health problem with serious consequences for women's physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Reproductive health outcomes such as unwanted and terminated pregnancies, fetal loss or child loss during infancy, non-use of family planning methods, and high fertility are increasingly recognized. However, little is known about the role of community influences on women's experience of IPV and its effect on terminated pregnancy, given the increased awareness of IPV being a product of social context. This study sought to examine the role of community-level norms and characteristics in the association between IPV and terminated pregnancy in Nigeria.

Methods: Multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed on nationally-representative cross-sectional data including 19,226 women aged 15-49 years in Nigeria. Data were collected by a stratified two-stage sampling technique, with 888 primary sampling units (PSUs) selected in the first sampling stage, and 7,864 households selected through probability sampling in the second sampling stage.

Results: Women who had experienced physical IPV, sexual IPV, and any IPV were more likely to have terminated a pregnancy compared to women who had not experienced these IPV types.IPV types were significantly associated with factors reflecting relationship control, relationship inequalities, and socio-demographic characteristics. Characteristics of the women aggregated at the community level (mean education, justifying wife beating, mean age at first marriage, and contraceptive use) were significantly associated with IPV types and terminated pregnancy.

Conclusion: Findings indicate the role of community influence in the association between IPV-exposure and terminated pregnancy, and stress the need for screening women seeking abortions for a history of abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Power, Psychological
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult