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Intimate partner violence among Canadian women with activity limitations
  1. Marsha M Cohen1,2,
  2. Tonia Forte1,
  3. Janice Du Mont1,
  4. Ilene Hyman1,3,
  5. Sarah Romans1,4
  1. 1Centre for Research in Women’s Health, Sunnybrook and Women’s Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  2. 2Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
  3. 3Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto
  4. 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M M Cohen
 Centre for Research in Women’s Health, 790 Bay Street, 7th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1N8;


Objective: To determine the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the previous five years among women reporting activity limitations (AL).

Design and setting: A community based, representative telephone survey of Canadians aged 15 and over. AL was assessed by the question: “Does a long term physical or mental condition or health problem reduce the amount or the kind of activity that you can do at home, at school, at work or in other activities?” Response categories were: often, sometimes, or never.

Participants: 8771 women who had a current/former partner of whom 1483 reported AL.

Main results: IPV was reported more often for AL (often or sometimes) compared with no AL women (emotional abuse (27.1, 26.4 v 17.7%, p<0.0001), physical—severe (7.3, 6.7 v 3.6%, p<0.0001), sexual abuse (3.5, 3.6 v 1.4%, p<0.0001)), or any IPV (30.5, 27.8 v 19.6%, p<0.0001). Adjusting for age, marital status, education, income, employment, children in the household, Aboriginal or visible minority status, place of birth, urban or rural residence, region of Canada, time in current residence, and religious attendance, AL women had higher odds of IPV (adjusted odds ratio: AL often  = 2.12; 95% CI: 1.64, 2.74; AL sometimes: OR = 1.64; 95% CI:1.40, 2.29).

Conclusion: These findings call for increased recognition of violence that occurs in the lives of women with AL. This community based study suggests that abuse among those reporting AL is high. Women with AL represent a high risk group to be targeted in terms of IPV prevention and intervention.

  • IPV, intimate partner violence
  • AL, activity limitations
  • GSS, general social survey
  • activity limitation
  • intimate partner violence
  • women
  • prevalence

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  • Funding: this research was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Gender and Health, and the Atkinson Foundation. Dr Du Mont is the recipient of an Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr Romans is the Shirley Brown Chair in Women’s Mental Health, Sunnybrook and Women’s Health Sciences Centre.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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