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Contraception. 2012 Nov;86(5):530-5. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Chronicity of partner violence, contraceptive patterns and pregnancy risk.

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University of Massachusetts Lowell, Department of Nursing, School of Health and Environment, Lowell, MA 01854, USA.



Partner violence may interfere with a woman's ability to maintain continuous contraception and therefore contribute to increased risk of pregnancy among childbearing women.


A retrospective review of medical records (N=2000) was conducted from four family planning clinics in the northeast United States. Eligibility criteria for inclusion were as follows: (1) female, (2) reproductive age (menarche through menopause), (3) seeking reproductive services and (4) clinic visit for annual gynecologic exam between 2006 and 2011.


Partner violence was documented in 28.5% (n=569) of medical records. Chronicity of violence influenced contraceptive patterns and pregnancy risk. Women reporting past year partner violence only [odds ratio (OR)=10.2] and violence during the last 5 years (OR=10.6) had the highest odds of not using a current method of contraception. Women reporting recent exposure to violence were most likely to change birth control methods and use emergency contraception (OR=6.5). Women experiencing any history of violence reported more frequent contraceptive method changes during the previous year.


A history of partner violence was common among women utilizing family planning services. The chronicity of violence appeared to play a significant role in contraceptive method changes, types of methods used and pregnancy risk. These results may be one explanation for increased pregnancies among women who experience partner violence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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