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Association Between Men’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Self-reported Health Outcomes in New Zealand

Mellar, B. M., Gulliver, P. J., Selak, V. , Hashemi, L. ORCID: 0000-0001-6449-3834, McIntosh, T. K. D. & Fanslow, J. L. (2023). Association Between Men’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Self-reported Health Outcomes in New Zealand. JAMA Network Open, 6(1), article number e2252578. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.52578


Health implications of intimate partner violence (IPV) against men is relatively underexplored, although substantial evidence has identified associations between IPV and long-term physical health problems for women. Given the gendered differences in IPV exposure patterns, exploration of men’s IPV exposure and health outcomes using population-based samples is needed.

To assess the association between men’s lifetime IPV exposure and self-reported health outcomes.

Design, Setting, and Participants
This cross-sectional study analyzed data from the 2019 New Zealand Family Violence Study, which was conducted across 3 regions of New Zealand. The representative sample included ever-partnered men aged 16 years or older. Data analysis was performed between May and September 2022.

Lifetime IPV against men by types (physical [severe or any], sexual, psychological, controlling behaviors, and economic abuse), any IPV (at least 1 type), and number of IPV types experienced.

Main Outcomes and Measures
The 7 health outcomes were poor general health, recent pain or discomfort, recent use of pain medication, frequent use of pain medication, recent health care consultation, any diagnosed physical health condition, and any diagnosed mental health condition.

The sample comprised 1355 ever-partnered men (mean [SD] age, 51.3 [16.9] years), who predominantly identified as heterosexual (96.9%; 95% CI, 95.7%-97.8%). Half of the sample (49.9%) reported experiencing any lifetime IPV, of whom 62.1% reported at least 2 types. Of all sociodemographic subgroups, unemployed men had the greatest prevalence of reporting exposure to any IPV (69.2%) and all IPV types. After adjustment for sociodemographic factors, men’s exposure to any lifetime IPV was associated with an increased likelihood of reporting 4 of the 7 assessed health outcomes: poor general health (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.78; 95% CI, 1.34-2.38), recent pain or discomfort (AOR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.21-2.25), recent use of pain medication (AOR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.00-1.62), and any diagnosed mental health condition (AOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.11-2.49). Specific IPV types were inconsistently associated with poor health outcomes. Any physical IPV exposure was associated with poor general health (AOR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.33-2.43), recent pain or discomfort (AOR, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.64-3.04), and frequent use of pain medication (AOR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.08-2.63), which appeared to be associated with exposure to severe physical IPV. Exposure to sexual IPV, controlling behaviors, and economic abuse was not associated with any assessed outcomes after sociodemographic adjustment. Experience of a higher number of IPV types did not show a clear stepwise association with number of health outcomes.

Conclusions and Relevance
Results of this study indicate that exposure to IPV can adversely affect men’s health but is not consistently a factor in men’s poor health at the population level. These findings do not warrant routine inquiry for IPV against men in clinical settings, although appropriate care is needed if IPV against men is identified.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY-NC-ND License.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
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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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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