Intimate partner violence among women veterans: previous interpersonal violence as a risk factor

J Trauma Stress. 2013 Dec;26(6):767-71. doi: 10.1002/jts.21867. Epub 2013 Nov 15.


Experiences of abuse during childhood or military service may increase women veterans' risk for intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization. This study examined the relative impact of 3 forms of interpersonal violence exposure (childhood physical abuse [CPA], childhood sexual abuse [CSA], and unwanted sexual experiences during military service) and demographic and military characteristics on past-year IPV among women veterans. Participants were 160 female veteran patients at Veterans Afffairs hospitals in New England who completed a paper-and-pencil mail survey that included validated assessments of past-year IPV and previous interpersonal violence exposures. Women who reported CSA were 3.06 times, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.14, 8.23], more likely to report past-year IPV relative to women who did not experience CSA. Similarly, women who reported unwanted sexual experiences during military service were 2.33 times, 95% CI [1.02, 5.35], more likely to report past-year IPV compared to women who did not report such experiences. CPA was not associated with IPV risk. Having less education and having served in the Army (vs. other branches) were also associated with greater risk of experiencing IPV in the past year. Findings have implications for assisting at risk women veterans in reducing their risk for IPV through detection and intervention efforts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*