Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

The prevalence of intimate partner violence among couples signing up for universally offered parent preparation

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Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy can have serious health consequences for mothers and the unborn child. Nevertheless, IPV is seldom addressed in the context of parent preparation. Aim: This study aimed to map the prevalence, direction, and severity of IPV in a sample of expectant couples signing up for universally-offered parent preparation. Method: A total of 1726 Danish couples expecting their first child provided data on physical and psychological IPV by completing the Family Maltreatment measure [1] during the second trimester of pregnancy. Results: In 18.5% of the couples, at least one partner reported psychological or physical IPV acts during the past year. In more than 8% of couples, one or both partners reported acts and impacts above the ICD-11 threshold for clinically-significant IPV (CS-IPV) during the past year (3.6% physical CS-IPV, 5.3% psychological CS-IPV, and 0.8% both physical and psychological CS-IPV). Among couples with physical IPV below the clinical threshold, pregnant-woman-to-partner (50%) and bidirectional (38.2%) IPV were more common than partner-to-pregnant-woman IPV (11.8%). Among couples with physical CS-IPV, pregnant-woman-to-partner (36.1%), partner-to-pregnant-women (29.1%) and bidirectional (34.4%) forms were equally common. Among couples with psychological IPV, pregnant-woman-to-partner (54.9%) and partner-to-pregnant-woman (39.6%) IPV were more common than bidirectional IPV (5.5%). Discussion: The prevalence of violence was markedly higher in this study compared with previous reports from the Nordic region and highlights a previous oversight of a substantial and clinically significant level of pregnant-woman-to-partner IPV — as well as the reverse. Data from this study call for IPV to be addressed in universally offered parent preparation programs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0223824
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume14
Issue10
Number of pages17
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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