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Intimate Partner Violence, Suicidality, and Self-Harm: A Probability Sample Survey of the General Population in England

McManus, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-2711-0819, Walby, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9696-6947, Capelas Barbosa, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-7621-7957 , Appleby, L., Brugha, T., Bebbington, P., Cook, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-7608-8702 & Knipe, D. (2022). Intimate Partner Violence, Suicidality, and Self-Harm: A Probability Sample Survey of the General Population in England. The Lancet Psychiatry, 9(7), pp. 574-583. doi: 10.1016/s2215-0366(22)00151-1


Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a recognised risk factor for psychiatric disorder. This study examines IPV and self-harm and suicidality, for which there is little current evidence.

Methods: Analysis of a 2014 probability sample survey of 7058 adults (16+) in the English general population. Multivariable logistic regression models quantified associations between different indicators of lifetime and past year IPV with past-year non-suicidal self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts.

Outcomes: A fifth (21·4%, n=1702) of adults reported lifetime experience of IPV; 27.2% of women (n=1243) and 15.3% of men (n=459). Among women, 19.6% had ever experienced emotional IPV, 18.7% physical, 8.5% economic, and 3.7% sexual. Prevalence in men was lower (8.6%, 9.3%, 3.6%, 0.3%, respectively). 15.9% of women and 5.0% of men had ever experienced more than one type of IPV. Lifetime prevalence of IPV was higher in those living in rented accommodation or deprived neighbourhoods. Among people who had attempted suicide in the past year 49·7% had ever experienced IPV, 23·1% experienced IPV in the past year (39·6% of women, 9·4% of men). After adjusting for demographics, socioeconomics, and lifetime experience of adversities, the odds of a past-year suicide attempt were 2·82 (95%CI:1·54-5·17) times higher in lifetime IPV victims than non-victims. Adjusted odds ratios for past-year self-harm (2·20, 1·37-3·53) and suicidal thoughts (1·85, 1·39-2·46) were also raised in those who had ever experienced IPV. Lifetime experience of sexual IPV was ten times more common in women than men, and an IPV type associated with particularly high odds self-harm and suicidality.

Interpretation: IPV is common in England (especially among women) and strongly associated with self-harm and suicidality (especially sexual IPV). People presenting to services in suicidal distress or after self-harm should be asked about IPV. Interventions designed to reduce the prevalence and duration of IPV may protect and improve the lives of people at risk of suicide and self-harm.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.
Publisher Keywords: intimate partner violence; domestic abuse; physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse; self-harm; self-injury; suicide attempt; suicidal ideation; epidemiology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Violence and Society Centre
SWORD Depositor:
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