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Intimate Partner Violence: Consequences

IPV is connected to other forms of violence, and causes serious health and economic consequences. Apart from deaths and injuries, physical violence by an intimate partner is associated with a number of adverse health outcomes. Several health conditions associated with IPV may be a direct result of the physical violence. Other conditions are the result of the impact of IPV on the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and immune systems through chronic stress or other mechanisms.

Cost to Society

  • The costs from IPV are substantial. The lifetime per-victim cost was $103,767 for women and $23,414 for men.
  • The lifetime economic cost to the U.S. population is $3.6 trillion. This economic cost estimate includes almost 32 million women and 12 million men who are victims of IPV during their lives,
  • The $3.6 trillion economic cost estimate included:
    • $2.1 trillion (59%) in medical costs,
    • $1.3 trillion (37%) in lost productivity among victims and perpetrators,
    • $73 billion (2%) in criminal justice costs, and
    • $62 billion (2%) in other costs, such as victim property loss or damage.

Consequences

  • Nearly 1 in 5 adult women and about 1 in 7 adult men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • About 1 in 6 women and 1 in 12 men have experienced contact sexual violence from an intimate partner (this includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, and unwanted sexual contact)
  • 10% of women and 2% of men report having been stalked by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • About 35% of female IPV survivors and 12% of male IPV survivors experience some form of physical injury related to their experience of relationship violence.
  • About 1 in 6 of homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner
  • Over 40% of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by an intimate partner
  • Children might become injured during IPV incidents between their parents. A large overlap exists between IPV and child abuse and neglect.

Health conditions associated with IPV include:

  • Asthma
  • Bladder and kidney infections
  • Circulatory conditions
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Joint disease
  • Migraines and headaches

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Reproductive

  • Gynecological disorders
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS
  • Delayed prenatal care
  • Preterm delivery
  • Pregnancy difficulties like low birth weight babies and perinatal deaths
  • Unintended pregnancy

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Psychological

Physical violence is typically accompanied by emotional or psychological abuse. IPV–whether sexual, physical, or psychological–can lead to various psychological consequences for victims.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to trust others, especially in intimate relationships
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Emotional detachment
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Flashbacks
  • Replaying assault in the mind

Social

Victims of IPV sometimes face the following social consequences

  • Restricted access to services
  • Strained relationships with health providers and employers
  • Isolation from social networks
  • Homelessness

Health Behaviors

Women with a history of IPV are more likely to display behaviors that present further health risks (e.g., substance abuse, alcoholism, suicide attempts) than women without a history of IPV.

IPV is associated with a variety of negative health behaviors. Studies show that the more severe the violence, the stronger its relationship to negative health behaviors by victims.

  • Engaging in high-risk sexual behavior
    • Unprotected sex
    • Decreased condom use
    • Early sexual initiation
    • Choosing unhealthy sexual partners
    • Multiple sex partners
    • Trading sex for food, money, or other items
  • Using harmful substances
    • Smoking cigarettes
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Drinking alcohol and driving
    • Illicit drug use
  • Unhealthy diet-related behaviors
    • Fasting
    • Vomiting
    • Abusing diet pills
    • Overeating
  • Overuse of health services

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References
  1. Smith, S.G., Chen, J., Basile, K.C., Gilbert, L.K., Merrick, M.T., Patel, N., Walling, M., & Jain, A. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 State Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2017.
  2. Johnson MP, Leone JM. The differential effects of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence. J Fam Issues.2005;26(3):322–349.
  3. United States Department of Justice. Crime in the United States, 2010. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, Washington, DC, 2011.
  4. Black MC. Intimate partner violence and adverse health consequences: implications for clinicians. Am J Lifestyle Med; 2011;5(5):428-439.
  5. Breiding MJ, Black MC, Ryan GW. Chronic disease and health risk behaviors associated with intimate partner violence—18 U.S. states/territories, 2005. Ann Epidemiol . 2008; 18:538–544.
  6. Crofford LJ. Violence, stress, and somatic syndromes. Trauma Violence Abuse. 2007; 8:299–313.
  7. Leserman J, Drossman DA. Relationship of abuse history to functional gastrointestinal disorders and symptoms. Trauma Violence Abuse. 2007; 8:331–343.
  8. Appel AE, Holden GW. The co-occurrence of spouse and physical child abuse: A review and appraisal. J of Family Psychol. 1998; 12; 578–599.
  9. Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence: findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington (DC): Department of Justice (US); 2000. Publication No. NCJ 181867. Available from: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubssum/181867.htm.
  10. Coker AL, Davis KE, Arias I, Desai S, Sanderson M, Brandt HM, et al. Physical and mental health effects of intimate partner violence for men and women. Am J Prev Med. 2002;23(4):260–268.
  11. Heise L, Garcia-Moreno C. Violence by intimate partners. In: Krug E, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA, et al., editors. World report on violence and health. Geneva (Switzerland): World Health Organization. 2002; 87–121.
  12. Roberts TA, Klein JD, Fisher S. Longitudinal effect of intimate partner abuse on high-risk behavior among adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003; 157(9):875–981.
  13. Warshaw C, Brashler B, Gil J. Mental health consequences of intimate partner violence. In Mitchell C, Anglin D, editors. Intimate partner violence: a health- based perspective. New York: Oxford University Press; 2009. 147-171.
  14. Plichta SB. Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences: policy and practice implications. J Interpers Violence. 2004;19(11):1296–1323.
  15. Roberts TA, Auinger P, Klein JD. Intimate partner abuse and the reproductive health of sexually active female adolescents. J Adolesc Health. 2005; 36(5):380–385.
  16. Silverman JG, Raj A, Mucci L, Hathaway J. Dating violence against adolescent girls and associated substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, and suicidality. JAMA. 2001; 286(5):572–579.

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