Risk factors for injury to women from domestic violence

Demetrios N. Kyriacou, Deirdre Anglin, Ellen Taliaferro, Susan Stone, Toni Tubb, Judith A. Linden, Robert Muelleman, Erik Barton, Jess F. Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

338 Scopus citations


Background: Domestic violence is the most common cause of nonfatal injury to women in the United States. To identify risk factors for such injuries, we examined the socioeconomic and behavioral characteristics of women who were victims of domestic violence and the men who injured them. Methods: We conducted a case-control study at eight large, university- affiliated emergency departments. The 256 intentionally injured women had acute injuries resulting from a physical assault by a male partner. The 659 controls were women treated for other conditions in the emergency department. Information was collected with a standardized questionnaire; no information was obtained directly from the male partners. Results: The 256 intentionally injured women had a total of 434 contusions and abrasions, 89 lacerations, and 41 fractures and dislocations. In a multivariate analysis, the characteristics of the partners that were most closely associated with an increased risk of inflicting injury as a result of domestic violence were alcohol abuse (adjusted relative risk, 3.6; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.2 to 5.9); drug use (adjusted relative risk, 3.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.0 to 6.4); intermittent employment (adjusted relative risk, 3.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.1 to 8.8); recent unemployment (adjusted relative risk, 2.7; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 6.5); having less than a high-school education (adjusted relative risk, 2.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 4.4); and being a former husband, estranged husband, or former boyfriend (adjusted relative risk, 3.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.5 to 8.3). Conclusions: Women at greatest risk for injury from domestic violence include those with male partners who abuse alcohol or use drugs, are unemployed or intermittently employed, have less than a high-school education, and are former husbands, estranged husbands, or former boyfriends of the women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1892-1898
Number of pages7
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 16 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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