The association between disability and intimate partner violence in the United States

Ann Epidemiol. 2015 Jun;25(6):455-7. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2015.03.017. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Purpose: Prior research has shown that people with disabilities are at greater risk of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization. This study seeks to examine the link between disability and IPV in a nationally representative sample of U.S. women and men. Also, by establishing that disability preceded recent IPV victimization, this study allows for a more thorough understanding of whether people with disabilities are at greater risk of victimization subsequent to having a disability.

Methods: Data were analyzed from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, an ongoing, national random digit dial telephone survey of U.S. adults. Estimates of age-adjusted 12-month IPV prevalence by disability status were calculated.

Results: Compared to women without a disability, women with a disability were significantly more likely to report experiencing each form of IPV measured, which includes rape, sexual violence other than rape, physical violence, stalking, psychological aggression, and control of reproductive or sexual health. For men, significant associations were found with respect to stalking and psychological aggression by an intimate partner.

Conclusions: The results suggest that people with a disability are at greater risk of victimization and that primary and secondary prevention efforts might be targeted to those with a disability.

Keywords: Disability; Domestic violence; Intimate partner violence; Sexual violence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vulnerable Populations / statistics & numerical data