Journal 1, January 2003pages: 35-39
Background: Domestic violence is considered a major risk factor in pregnancy.
Objectives: To assess the prevalence of different kinds of abuse (physical, psychological, sexual) of pregnant as compared to non-pregnant women, and to identify demographic risk factors for physical abuse that characterize the woman and her partner.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 270 women seeking gynecologic care at women health centers in northern Israel. Information was collected by means of a standardized questionnaire administered via phone, and addressed demographic data, interaction with the partner, and reporting of physical abuse. All information was obtained from the respondents (including information about her partner).
Results: Four abuse scores were computed: severe physical attack, minor physical attack, psychological abuse, and sexual coercion. Psychological abuse was found to be the most prevalent (24%), followed by minor and severe physical attack (17% and 8.1%, respectively), and sexual coercion (5.6%). Physical attacks related to pregnancy (directed at the abdomen) occurred in 5.4% of the pregnant women. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of the different types of abuse between pregnant and non-pregnant women. Physical attack was associated with socioeconomic status, work status, and degree of religiosity.
Conclusion: Pregnant women were at a similar risk for abuse as non-pregnant women in all abuse categories. Predictors for abuse – socioeconomic status and religiosity – are reviewed primarily in a cultural context.