Prevalence and risk factors of physical or sexual intimate violence perpetration amongst men in four districts in the central region of Ghana: Baseline findings from a cluster randomised controlled trial

PLoS One. 2018 Mar 9;13(3):e0191663. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191663. eCollection 2018.


Background: Evidence-based interventions are essential in the prevention of violence against women (VAW). An understanding of risk factors for male perpetration of VAW using population-based research is crucial for developing such interventions. This study is a baseline assessment of a two-arm unmatched cluster randomised controlled trial (C-RCT), set up to assess the impact of a Rural Response System (RRS) intervention for preventing violence against women and girls in Ghana. This study aims at assessing past year prevalence and risk factors for sexual or physical intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration among men.

Methods: The population-based survey involved 2126 men aged 18 and above living in selected communities in 4 districts in the central region of Ghana. Logistic regression techniques were used to determine risk factors for sexual or physical IPV perpetration. All models adjusted for age of respondent and took into account the study design.

Results: Half of the men had perpetrated at least one form of violence against their intimate partners in their lifetime while 41% had perpetrated sexual or physical IPV. Majority (93%) of the men had been in relationships in the 12 months preceding the survey, and of these, 23% had perpetrated sexual or physical IPV. Childhood factors associated with sexual or physical IPV included witnessing abuse of mother (aOR:1.40(1.06-1.86)), and neglect (aOR:1.81(1.30-2.50)). Other major risk factors for IPV perpetration were: having multiple partners (aOR:1.76(1.36-2.26)), (involvement in transactional sex (aOR:1.76(1.36-2.26)), substance use (aOR:1.74(1.25-2.43)) and gender inequitable attitudes (aOR:0.94(0.91-0.97)).

Conclusion: Childhood violence experience and witnessing, risky behaviour (multiple partners, transactional sex, substance use) and gender inequitable attitudes are major risk factors for sexual or physical IPV perpetration. Perpetration of sexual or physical IPV tend to co-occur with non-partner violence and emotional IPV perpetration. Interventions targeting these factors are critical in reducing IPV.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
  • Attitude
  • Domestic Violence* / prevention & control
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Health Risk Behaviors
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence* / prevention & control
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Rape / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Sexism
  • Socioeconomic Factors

Grants and funding

This paper is a product from a C-RCT funded through the What Works to Prevent Violence? A Global Programme on violence Against Women and Girls VAWG (, funded by the UK Aid from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). The funding was managed by the South African Medical Research Council. However, the views expressed and information contain in it do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.