Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Intimate partner violence among adolescents and young women: prevalence and associated factors in nine countries: a cross-sectional study

Heidi Stöckl1*, Laura March234, Christina Pallitto5, Claudia Garcia-Moreno6 and on behalf of the WHO Multi-country Study team

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Global Health and Development, Gender Violence & Health Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, UK

2 INSERM, U912 (SESSTIM), 23 rue Stanislas Torrents, 13006 Marseille, France

3 Aix Marseille University, IRD, UMR-S912 Marseille, France

4 ORS PACA, Observatoire Régional de la Santé Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, Marseille, France

5 Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organisation, Avenue Appia 20, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

6 Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Reproductive Rights and Adolescence, World Health Organisation, Avenue Appia 20, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:751  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-751

Published: 25 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Little is known about the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) and its associated factors among adolescents and younger women.

Methods

This study analyzed data from nine countries of the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women, a population based survey conducted in ten countries between 2000 and 2004.

Results

The lifetime prevalence of IPV ranged from 19 to 66 percent among women aged 15 to 24, with most sites reporting prevalence above 50 percent. Factors significantly associated with IPV across most sites included witnessing violence against the mother, partner’s heavy drinking and involvement in fights, women’s experience of unwanted first sex, frequent quarrels and partner’s controlling behavior. Adolescent and young women face a substantially higher risk of experiencing IPV than older women.

Conclusion

Adolescence and early adulthood is an important period in laying the foundation for healthy and stable relationships, and women’s health and well-being overall. Ensuring that adolescents and young women enjoy relationships free of violence is an important investment in their future.

Keywords:
Intimate partner violence; Prevalence; Risk factors; Adolescents; Young women; Population-based survey