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Fam Pract. 2019 Mar 20;36(2):117-124. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmy042.

Social support and the intimate partner violence victimization among adults from six European countries.

Author information

1
EpiUnit, Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal.
2
Departamento de Saúde Coletiva da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
3
Department of Public Health Science, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
4
Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St George's, University of London, London, UK.
5
Department of Sociology, National School of Public Health Athens, Athens, Greece.
6
fUniversity of Applied Sciences Emden, Emden, Germany.
7
Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA.
8
Department of Psychology, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden.
9
Institute of Sociology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary.
10
Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação Médica, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social support may buffer the negative effects of violence on physical and mental health. Family medicine providers play an essential role in identifying the available social support and intervening in intimate partner violence (IPV).

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed at assessing the association between social support and the IPV victimization among adults from six European countries.

METHODS:

This is a cross-sectional multi-centre study that included individuals from Athens (Greece), Budapest (Hungary), London (UK), Östersund (Sweden), Porto (Portugal) and Stuttgart (Germany). Data collection was carried out between September 2010 and May 2011. The sample consisted of 3496 adults aged 18-64 years randomly selected from the general population in each city. The revised Conflict Tactics Scales was used to assess IPV victimization. Social support was assessed with the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support.

RESULTS:

Participants reporting physical assault victimization experienced lower social support (mean ± SD) than their counterparts, 66.1 ± 13.96 versus 71.7 ± 12.90, P < 0.001, for women; and 67.1 ± 13.69 versus 69.5 ± 13.52, P = 0.002 for men. Similar results were found regarding sexual coercion victimization, 69.1 ± 14.03 versus 71.3 ± 12.97, P = 0.005 for women and 68.0 ± 13.29 versus 69.3 ± 13.62, P = 0.021 for men. This study revealed lower levels of social support among participants reporting lifetime and past year victimization, independent of demographic, social and health-related factors.

CONCLUSION:

Results showed a statistically significant association between low social support and IPV victimization. Although the specific mechanisms linking social support with experiences of violence need further investigation, it seems that both informal and formal networks may be associated with lower levels of abusive situations.

KEYWORDS:

Adult; Europe; cross-sectional studies; intimate partner violence; social networking; social support

PMID:
29788243
DOI:
10.1093/fampra/cmy042

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