Quality of life in women who were exposed to domestic violence during pregnancy

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016 Jan 26:16:19. doi: 10.1186/s12884-016-0810-6.


Background: Quality of life in pregnant women is an important issue both for women's and fetus' health. This study aimed to examine quality of life in a group of women who were exposed to domestic violence during pregnancy.

Methods: This was a cross sectional study of quality of life among a consecutive sample of pregnant women attending to a teaching hospital in Lorestan, Iran. Women were screened for experiencing violence using the Abuse Assessment Screen (AAS) questionnaire and were categorized as psychological abused, physical abused and non-abused groups. Quality of life was assessed using the Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36). One-way analysis of variance and t-test were used to examine differences in quality of life in the study sub-samples. In addition logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate the association between general health and mental health and independent variables including age, education, parity and type of violence.

Results: In all 266 pregnant women were approached, of which 230 (86.5%) agreed to participate in the study. Of these, 149 women (64.8%) reported that they had experienced either physical or psychological violence during pregnancy. A significant difference between abused and non-abused groups was identified, with the abused group recording lower mean scores on all sub-scales with the exception of the bodily pain (p = 0.27). In addition comparing quality of life between physical and psychological abused groups, women who reported physical violence recorded lower mean scores for physical functioning, role physical, bodily pain and general health, while women reporting psychological abuse had lower mean scores on social functioning, role emotional, vitality and mental health. Comparison between the physically and psychologically abused groups indicated significant differences only for role physical (p = 0.04), bodily pain (p = 0.003) and general health (p = 0.04). After adjusting for age, parity, and education, physical abuse was associated with poor physical health (OR = 2.13, 95% CI = 1.05-4.36, p = 0.03), while emotional abuse was significantly associated with poor mental health (OR = 1.89, 95% CI = 1.09-3.84, p = 0.04).

Conclusion: Domestic violence against women during pregnancy in Iran was evident and this had significant adverse association with their quality of life. Indeed health care professionals involved in the care of women need to be aware of the extent of the problem and consider how it may be impacting on the women in their care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Logistic Models
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Abuse / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult