Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 242–249

The Associations between Area of Residence, Sexual Violence Victimization, and Asthma Episodes among US Adult Women in 14 States and Territories, 2005–2007

  • Robert M. Bossarte
  • Monica H. Swahn
  • Ekta Choudhary

DOI: 10.1007/s11524-008-9340-5

Cite this article as:
Bossarte, R.M., Swahn, M.H. & Choudhary, E. J Urban Health (2009) 86: 242. doi:10.1007/s11524-008-9340-5


Gaps in understanding of how area-based differences in exposure to violence are associated with asthma prevalence may limit the development of effective prevention programs and the identification of risk for asthma episodes. The current investigation examines the associations between sexual violence victimization and asthma episodes among US adult women across three different metropolitan settings. The association between sexual assault victimizations and asthma attacks in the past year was examined using data from the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys. Cross-sectional analyses were based on adult women with current asthma (n = 4,099). Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify associations between four categories of sexual violence victimization and asthma episodes across three categories of metropolitan and non-metropolitan settings. Our findings show that unwanted touching, attempted unwanted intercourse, forced unwanted intercourse, and any sexual violence victimization (touching, attempted intercourse, or forced intercourse) were significantly associated with asthma episodes (ORadj. = 3.67, 95% CI, 1.76–7.69; ORadj. = 1.77, 95% CI, 1.32–2.37; ORadj. = 2.24, 95% CI, 1.64–3.05, and ORadj. = 1.93, 95% CI, 1.47–2.53, respectively). While no significant differences in the associations between asthma episodes and metropolitan status were found, a significant interaction between non-metropolitan areas and attempted sexual intercourse was identified (ORadj = 0.53, 95% CI, 0.29–0.96). Sexual victimization appears to be an important, but understudied, correlate of asthma morbidity among adult women in the USA, suggesting that additional research is needed to better understand the associations between sexual violence, psychological distress, and asthma.


MetropolitanSexual violenceAsthmaPrevention

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Bossarte
    • 1
  • Monica H. Swahn
    • 2
  • Ekta Choudhary
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Public HealthGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Community MedicineWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  4. 4.Injury Control Research CenterWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA