Association between exposure to political violence and intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian territory: a cross-sectional study

Background: Intimate-partner violence might increase during and after exposure to collective violence. We assessed whether political violence was associated with male-to-female intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Methods: A nationally representative, cross-sectional survey was done between Dec 18, 2005, and Jan 18, 2006, by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. 4156 households were randomly selected with a multistage random cluster design, from which 3815 ever-married women aged 15—64 years were identified. We restricted our analysis to presently married women (n=3510, 92% participation rate), who completed a short version of the revised conflict tactics scales and exposure to political violence inventory. Exposure to political violence was characterised as the husband’s direct exposure, his indirect exposure via his family’s experiences, and economic effects of exposure on the household. We used adjusted multinomial logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for association between political violence and intimate-partner violence.

Findings: Political violence was significantly related to higher odds of intimate-partner violence. ORs were 1·89 (95% CI 1·29—2·76) for physical and 2·23 (1·49—3·35) for sexual intimate-partner violence in respondents whose husbands were directly exposed to political violence compared with those whose husbands were not directly exposed. For women whose husbands were indirectly exposed, ORs were 1·61 (1·25—2·07) for physical and 1·97 (1·49—2—60) for sexual violence, compared with those whose husbands were not indirectly exposed. Economic effects of exposure were associated with increased odds of intimate-partner violence in the Gaza Strip only. Interpretation: Because exposure to political violence is associated with increased odds of intimate-partner violence, and exposure to many traumas is associated with poor health, a range of violent exposures should be assessed when establishing the need for psychosocial interventions in conflict settings.

Publication Date

January 2010

Publication Name

Lancet

Author

Cari Jo Clark, Susan A Everson-Rose, Shakira Franco Suglia, Rula Btoush, Alvaro Alonso, Muhammad M Haj-Yahia