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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Self-reported exposure to intimate partner violence among women and men in Sweden: results from a population-based survey

Lotta Nybergh12*, Charles Taft3, Viveka Enander24 and Gunilla Krantz12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Arvid Wallgrens Backe 7, PO Box 453, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

2 The Västra Götaland Region Competence Centre on Intimate Partner Violence, Kungsgatan 12, floor 6, 411 19 Gothenburg, Sweden

3 Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-centred Care, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Arvid Wallgrens Backe, PO Box 457, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

4 Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Sprängkullsgatan 23, PO Box 720, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:845  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-845

Published: 13 September 2013



Few population-based studies assessing IPV among randomly selected women and men have been conducted in Sweden. Hence, the aim of the current study was to explore self-reported exposure, associated factors, social and behavioural consequences of and reasons given for using psychological, physical and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) among women and men residing in Sweden.


Cross-sectional postal survey of women and men aged 18–65 years. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with exposure to IPV.


Past-year IPV exposure rates were similar in women and men; however, earlier-in-life estimates were higher in women. Poor to moderate social support, growing up with domestic violence and being single, widowed or divorced were associated with exposure to all forms of IPV in men and women. Women and men tended to report different social consequences of IPV.


Our finding that women reported greater exposure to IPV earlier-in-life but not during the past year suggests the importance of taking this time frame into account when assessing gender differences in IPV. In-depth, qualitative studies that consider masculinities, femininities power and gender orders would be beneficial for extending and deepening our understanding of the gendered matter of IPV.

Intimate partner violence; Sweden; WHO VAW instrument; Men; Women