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Douglas A. Brownridge, Janice Ristock, Diane Hiebert-Murphy
Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(5): PH27-32
Mounting evidence suggests that women with disabilities have a particularly high risk of experiencing violence by an intimate partner. This study examined the elevated risk for male-female intimate partner violence (IPV) against women with disabilities compared to women without disabilities across three large-scale Canadian surveys. An explanatory framework was tested that organized risk markers based on whether they referred to the context of the relationship between the couple (relationship factors), the victim (victim-related characteristics), or the perpetrator (perpetrator-related characteristics).
Material and Method: The data employed in this study were from three surveys collected by Statistics Canada: the 1993 Violence Against Women Survey, and the 1999 and 2004 iterations of the General Social Survey. Descriptive analyses consisted of cross-tabulations with Chi-square tests of significance. Logistic regression was used to calculate zero-order odds ratios and to perform multivariate analyses.
Results: A pattern was found in which women with disabilities reported a significantly higher prevalence of violence than those without disabilities. The perpetrator-related characteristics were the only variables that reduced the elevated odds of violence against women with disabilities. Partners of women with disabilities were more likely to engage in patriarchal domination as well as possessive and jealous behaviors.
Conclusions: The apparent importance of perpetrator-related characteristics (e.g., jealousy) suggests that future research should include a focus on what it is about the context of disability that makes these men more likely to engage in behaviors that are associated with IPV perpetration. Population-based efforts, professionals working with women who are victims, and professionals working with male perpetrators need to pay attention to the role of disability in IPV.