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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Intimate partner violence against women in rural Vietnam - different socio-demographic factors are associated with different forms of violence: Need for new intervention guidelines?

Nguyen Dang Vung14*, Per-Olof Ostergren2 and Gunilla Krantz34

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Demography, Faculty of Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

2 Division of Social Medicine and Global Health, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden

3 Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Sahlgrenska Academy at Goteborg University, Goteborg, Sweden

4 Division of International Health, Ihcar, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-55

Published: 11 February 2008

Abstract

Background

This population-based study investigated the different forms, magnitude and risk factors of men's violence against women in intimate relationships in a rural part of northern Vietnam and whether a difference in risk factors were at hand for the different forms of violence. Vietnam has undergone a rapid transition in the last 20 years, moving towards a more equal situation for men and women however, Confucian doctrine is still strong and little is known about men's violence against women within the Vietnamese family.

Methods

This is a cross-sectional population-based study that used a questionnaire developed by the World Health Organisation for investigating women's health and violence against women in different settings. Face-to face structured interviewing was performed and 883 married women, aged 17 to 60 participated. Bi- and multivariate analyses was used for risk factor assessment.

Results

The lifetime prevalence of physical violence was 30.9 percent and past year prevalence was 8.3 per cent, while the corresponding figures for physical and sexual violence combined was 32.7 and 9.2 percent. The lifetime prevalence was highest for psychological abuse (27.9 percent) as a single entity. In most cases the violence was of a severe nature and exercised as repeated acts over time. Woman's low educational level, husband's low education, low household income and the husband having more than one wife/partner were risk factors for lifetime and past year physical/sexual violence. The pattern of factors associated with psychological abuse alone was however different. Husband's low professional status and women's intermediate level of education appeared as risk factors.

Conclusion

Men's violence against women in intimate relationships is commonly occurring in rural Vietnam. There is an obvious need of preventive and treatment activities. Our findings point at that pure psychological abuse is different from physical/sexual violence in terms of differing characteristics of the perpetrators and it might be that also different strategies are needed to reduce and prevent this violence.