Intimate Partner Violence, Health Behaviours, And Chronic Physical Illness Among South African Women (Original Articles) (Report)
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global public health problem that is increasingly cited as a risk factor for adverse physical and behavioural health outcomes among women. Characterised by behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to a partner, (1) IPV has reached globally epidemic proportions. The lifetime prevalence of experiencing IPV is estimated to be between 15% and 71% among women worldwide. (2) Apart from an increased risk of injury and death, women who experience IPV have an increased probability of developing shortand long-term morbidity and adopting negative health behaviours. For example, in the USA abused women are more likely than nonabused women to report adverse physical health outcomes such as joint disease, asthma, heart disease, back problems, arthritis, sexually transmitted infections, vaginal infections, digestive problems and poor overall health. (3-5) Women with a history of IPV victimisation report increased rates of health risk behaviours, such as HIV risk factors, smoking, and alcohol and drug use. (4,6-8) Estimates of abused women’s use of health care services is conflicting; some found a nearly equivalent probability of use8 and others a decreased probability (4) compared with non-abused women.