oa South African Family Practice - Health-related factors associated with intimate partner violence in women attending a primary care clinic in south-western Nigeria : research

Volume 57, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Intimate partner violence (IPV) relates to poor physical and mental health in women. Women who have experienced it access healthcare facilities more frequently with symptoms that are often unrelated to violence. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of IPV and health-related factors in women in the study population.

This clinic-based, cross-sectional study was carried out between November 2010 and January 2011 at the general outpatient clinic of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. Four hundred women aged 15 years and older with previous or current intimate partners were recruited by simple random sampling. Data were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire to obtain information on the respondents' socio-demographic characteristics, lifetime experience of IPV and clinical data, i.e. presenting symptoms, body mass indices and blood pressure readings. The clinical data of women who had a lifetime experience of IPV were compared with those who did not.
The overall lifetime prevalence of IPV was 89.2%. Reported IPV types were controlling behaviour (79 5%), psychological violence (35.7%), and physical (19.8%) and sexual violence (9.8%). Non-specific complaints ( = 0.028), female genital complaints ( = 0.037), poor sleep ( = 0.049), headaches ( = 0.011), abrasions or scars ( = 0.012), suicidal ideation ( = 0.001) and obesity ( = 0.021) were significantly more common in women who had experienced IPV than in those who had not. The logistic regression analysis showed suicidal ideation as the most significant factor relating to IPV (odds ratio 12.658, 95% confidence interval: 1 248-29.677).
The high prevalence of IPV in women who routinely present to this primary care clinic suggests that there is a need for IPV screening. The association of IPV with a spectrum of clinical factors signifies its ubiquitous occurrence and underscores the need for healthcare providers to have a high index of suspicion, especially in cases whereby women present with non-specific complaints. Suicide screening should also be performed on women found to be positive for IPV.

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