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BMC Womens Health. 2011 Dec 20;11:56. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-11-56.

Traumatic physical health consequences of intimate partner violence against women: what is the role of community-level factors?

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  • 1Division of Global Health & Inequalities, The Angels Trust - Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria.



Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a serious public health issue with recognizable direct health consequences. This study assessed the association between IPV and traumatic physical health consequences on women in Nigeria, given that communities exert significant influence on the individuals that are embedded within them, with the nature of influence varying between communities.


Cross-sectional nationally-representative data of women aged 15 - 49 years in the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey was used in this study. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between IPV and several forms of physical health consequences.


Bruises were the most common form of traumatic physical health consequences. In the adjusted models, the likelihood of sustaining bruises (OR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.05 - 3.46), wounds (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.31 - 4.95), and severe burns (OR = 3.20, 95% CI = 1.63 - 6.28) was significantly higher for women exposed to IPV compared to those not exposed to IPV. However, after adjusting for individual- and community-level factors, women with husbands/partners with controlling behavior, those with primary or no education, and those resident in communities with high tolerance for wife beating had a higher likelihood of experiencing IPV, whilst mean community-level education and women 24 years or younger were at lower likelihood of experiencing IPV.


Evidence from this study shows that exposure to IPV is associated with increased likelihood of traumatic physical consequences for women in Nigeria. Education and justification of wife beating were significant community-level factors associated with traumatic physical consequences, suggesting the importance of increasing women's levels of education and changing community norms that justify controlling behavior and IPV.

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