|Determinants and health consequences of domestic violence among women in reproductive age at Zagazig district, Egypt|
|Fahmy HH, Abd El-Rahman SI. J. Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2008; 83(1-2): 87-106.|
|Affiliation: Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Zagazig University, Egypt. firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|(Copyright © 2008, Lippicott Williams & Wilkins/ Ovid)|
|Violence against women is a global phenomenon that cuts across all social and economic classes, it has recently drawn attention in the medical field as a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. The present study was carried out to estimate the prevalence of domestic violence, to identify socio-demographic and behavioral risk factors and to investigate the relationship between the women's psychological health status and violence exposure. This is a comparative cross-sectional study using a multistage random sampling technique. The sample comprised 500 women aged 18-50y. Data was collected via a structured interview questionnaire including the socio-demographic characteristics of the women and their husbands, some of the husbands' habits, attitude and history of chronic illnesses. Also, the questionnaire assesses different forms of domestic violence, women's reaction to it and its consequences on psychological well-being of women. A depression anxiety scale was used to assess the women's psychological status. The study revealed that the overall prevalence of domestic violence among the studied group was (62.2%); the commonest form (74.0%) was psychological abuse, followed by social (26.8%) one, then the physical (22.4%) and lastly sexual abuse (19.6%). On studying the socio-demographic variables, a significantly higher percentage of younger ( pound 30 years) non-educated, low income and those having any property ownership were more exposed to violence. Also exposure to abuse was more prevalent among women whose husbands were young, non-educated, skilled workers, drug abuser, with positive history of family troubles and chronic illness. The majority of women reported that they react to violence by crying loudly or screaming, while a minority may seek medical care or call the police. Regarding the psychological effect of violence exposure, the most common effects were anxiety (69.2%) and depression (52.2%), with a highly statistically significant difference with exposure in every form of domestic violence. Conclusion&Recommendations: The overall prevalence of domestic violence was relatively high and was predominantly of the psychological form. Women abuse had serious health effects on the women's health mainly her psychological well being. The study recommends practicing compulsory pre-marital counseling and offering health educational sessions in schools, universities and health units to all expected couples about marital and family life and provision of routine screening for domestic violence in primary care.