Volume 45, Issue 1
Pages 6 - 12

Intimate Partner Violence and Anal Intercourse In Young Adult Heterosexual Relationships

CONTEXT: Although intimate partner violence and anal intercourse are common in young adult relationships, few studies have examined whether these behaviors are associated with each other.

METHODS: Data from 6,280 women aged 18–28 who took part in Wave 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used to examine the association between physical and sexual intimate partner violence and anal intercourse in 10,462 relationships. Multivariate hierarchical random eff ects models were used to adjust for the clustered survey design and for the multiple relationships reported per participant.

RESULTS: Physical violence occurred in 29% of relationships, sexual violence in 11% and anal intercourse in 14%. The odds that a couple had had anal intercourse were greater among relationships that included physical violence perpetrated by both partners or only by the woman than among nonviolent relationships (odds ratios, 1.7 and 1.9, respectively). The odds of anal intercourse were also elevated among sexually abusive relationships, although only if the woman was the sole victim or the sole perpetrator (1.3 and 2.0, respectively). In relationships that included anal intercourse, the odds of condom use were lower if the woman was a victim of physical violence than if no violence occurred (0.2). Sexual violence was not associated with condom use.

CONCLUSION: Women in physically violent relationships may be at increased risk for STDs because of their elevated exposure to unprotected anal intercourse. More information on the context surrounding anal intercourse and intimate partner violence is needed to understand the nuances of this association.

Authors' Affiliations

At the time this study was conducted, Kristen L. Hess was a doctoral student at the Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles. Marjan Javanbakht is associate professor in-residence, Department of Epidemiology; Joelle M. Brown and Paul Hsu ar e adjunct assistant professors, Department of Epidemiology; Pamina M. Gorbach is professor, Department of Epidemiology; and Robert E. Weiss is professor, Department of Biostatistics—all at the Fielding School of Public Health.

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

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