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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Physical and sexual assault among women with disabilities

Carri Casteel, PhD1, Sandra L. Martin, PhD2, Jamie B. Smith, MA1, Kelly K. Gurka, MPH3, and Lawrence L. Kupper, PhD4. (1) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Injury Prevention Research Center, 137 E. Franklin St., Suite 500, CB# 7505, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7505, 919-843-3529, ccasteel@email.unc.edu, (2) Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 403 Rosenau Hall, CB# 7445, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445, (3) Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MacGavran-Greenberg Hall, CB# 7435, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435, (4) Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 3103C MacGavran-Greenberg, CB# 7420, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7420

Purpose: Research suggests that women with disabilities are at increased risk of physical and sexual assault; however, most studies have examined convenience samples and few have included comparison groups of women without disabilities. This study is unique in that it examines the risk of physical and sexual assault among a nationally representative sample of adult women, some of whom have disabilities.

Methods: Data were from 5,250 women who participated in the National Violence Against Women Survey. Women were classified into three groups based on their disability status and how it affected their daily functioning: those with no disability, those with low to moderate disability, and those with severe disability. Women's experiences of physical and sexual assault within the 12 months prior to interview were examined, as were their sociodemographic characteristics. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted.

Results: Women with severe disabilities were four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women without disabilities (OR= 4.05, 95% CI= 1.52-10.70). Women with severe disabilities, and those with low to moderate disabilities, were also more likely than those with no disability to have been physically assaulted (OR= 1.63, 95% CI= 0.87-3.06 and OR= 1.31, 95% CI= 0.88-1.97, respectively). Younger women, those not married, and those without private health insurance were at higher risk of physical and sexual assault.

Conclusions: Women with disabilities appear to be at increased risk for assault. Thus, domestic violence services should be accessible for women with disabilities and clinicians should be trained concerning the specialized needs of such women.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Disability, Violence

Related Web page: None

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Injury and Violence Prevention Policy Development and Policy Implementation

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA