Online Program

Intimate partner violence in timor-leste: Are there associations with reproductive healthcare or birth outcomes?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Rebecca Meiksin, MPH, The Policy & Research Group, New Orleans, LA
Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH, UW Department of Global Health, Health Alliance International, Seattle, WA
Susan Thompson, MPH, Health Alliance International, Seattle, WA
Amy Hagopian, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health; Senior Health Workforce Policy Advisor, Health Alliance International, Department of Global Health; Senior Health Workforce Policy Advisor, Health Alliance International, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Dominique Meekers, PhD, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Universiteit Gent, Belgium
BACKGROUND: Patriarchal traditions and a history of armed conflict in Timor-Leste contribute to widespread violence against women. Thirty-five percent of Timorese women report physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner (IPV). IPV violates women's human rights and can threaten their physical, mental, and reproductive health. We examined lifetime exposure to IPV in Timor-Leste in relation to 1) use of reproductive health services and 2) birth size. METHODS: Using logistic regression and Pearson's chi-square tests, we examined 2009-10 Demographic and Health Survey data on IPV from a nationally representative sample of 2,951 women in Timor-Leste. We controlled for wealth and education, and we limited our analyses of pregnancy care and birth outcomes to women who gave birth in the five years preceding the survey. RESULTS: In rural areas, women who ever experienced IPV were more likely than other women to have had an unplanned pregnancy (OR=1.6; 95% CI 1.0-2.4). Among women in rural areas, IPV was also associated with having a baby born smaller than average, as reported by the mother (OR=3.8; 95% CI 2.5-5.8). IPV was not associated with measures of reproductive healthcare in the prenatal or postnatal periods or during birth. CONCLUSIONS: Given high rates of IPV internationally, relationships between lifetime exposure to IPV and unplanned pregnancy and birth outcomes among Timorese women have important implications. Clearly, reducing IPV can benefit both women and future generations. Furthermore, women who experience IPV may benefit from targeted interventions that mediate the risks of unplanned pregnancy and small birth size.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe relationships between intimate partner violence and 1) reproductive healthcare and 2) birth size in Timor-Leste

Keyword(s): Domestic Violence, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in the development of the survey and analysis of the data on which the paper is based.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.