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Gac Sanit. 2013 Sep-Oct;27(5):440-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2012.11.009. Epub 2013 Jan 20.

Unperceived intimate partner violence and women's health.

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Department of Epidemiology, Sub-directorate for Health Promotion & Prevention, Directorate-General for Primary Care, Madrid Regional Health Authority, Madrid, Spain.



Women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) often do not perceive themselves as abused. This study sought to estimate the health effects of unperceived IPV (uIPV), taking violence-free women as the reference, and to compare the effects of uIPV with those of perceived IPV (pIPV).


We performed a cross-sectional population study through telephone interviews of 2835 women aged 18 to 70 years living in the region of Madrid and having an ongoing intimate partner relationship or contact with a former partner in the preceding year. Based on 26 questions from the Conflict Tactics Scale-1 and the Enquête Nacional sur les Violences envers les Femmes en France and the question "Do you feel abused by your partner?" a variable was constructed in three categories, namely, the absence of IPV, uIPV and pIPV. Using logistic regression, we analyzed the association between health problems, medication use, health-service utilization and IPV (perceived and unperceived) vis-à-vis the absence of IPV.


There were 247 cases of uIPV and 96 of pIPV (prevalences of 8.8% and 3.4%, respectively). The multivariate analysis showed that a substantial number of the outcomes explored were associated with uIPV, pIPV, or both. The highest odds ratios (ORs) were obtained for depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9≥10) (uIPV: OR 3.4, 95% CI 2.4-3.8; and pIPV: 4.1, 95%CI 2.5-6.8). In most problems, the ORs did not significantly differ between the two types of IPV.


uIPV is 2.6 times more frequent than pIPV and is associated with at least as many health problems as pIPV.


Encuesta poblacional; Epidemiology; Epidemiología; Intimate partner violence; Population-based survey; Salud de la mujer; Violence against women; Violencia de pareja hacia la mujer; Women's health

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