Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 619–626 | Cite as

Descriptive epidemiology of intimate partner aggression in Ukraine

  • K. Daniel O’Leary
  • Nathan Tintle
  • Evelyn J. BrometEmail author
  • Semyon F. Gluzman



Partner aggression is believed to be widespread in Eastern Europe although systematic evidence is sparse. Using data from the World Mental Health (WMH) survey in Ukraine, we present the first population-based findings on the descriptive epidemiology of partner aggression among married adults.


Married men (n = 558) and women (n = 558) were interviewed with the WMH-Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) module assessing aggression in the marriage. Risk factors included demographic characteristics, witnessing parental aggression, early onset and adult episodes of DSM-IV psychiatric and alcohol disorders, and marital problem severity.


More women than men reported aggression by their spouse in the past year (12.7 vs. 5.8%) or ever in the marriage (20.1 vs. 8.6%), while ~11 and 19% of both sexes behaved aggressively against their spouse in these time periods. Among men, the unique risk factors for behaving aggressively were being married once, witnessing parental violence, early onset alcohol abuse, and intermittent explosive disorders (IED); the risk factors for reporting that their wives were aggressive were early onset alcohol abuse, IED and marital problems. Among women, the risk factors for behaving aggressively were younger age, unemployment, living in a rural area, early onset alcohol abuse, mood/anxiety disorders, and marital problems; the risk factors for reporting that their husbands behaved aggressively were younger age, early onset alcohol abuse, and marital problems.


Partner aggression is a significant public health issue in Ukraine predicted by alcohol abuse and IED before and after age 20 for men and women.

Key words

Ukraine partner aggression alcohol abuse psychiatric morbidity marital problems 



This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH61905). The authors thank Volodymyr Paniotto, Valeriy Khmelko, and Victoria Zakhozha (Kiev International Institute of Sociology) for conducting the field work; Charles Webb for overseeing all aspects of the study; and the translators, interviewers and participants for their dedication and diligence. The survey was conducted as part of the World Health Organization World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative directed by Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D. (Harvard University) and T. Bedirhan ÜstÜn, M.D. (World Health Organization). We thank the WMH staff for assistance with instrumentation, fieldwork, and data analysis. These activities were supported by the NIMH grant R01MH070884, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pfizer Foundation, the US Public Health Service (R13-MH066849, R01-MH069864, and R01 DA016558), the Fogarty International Center (FIRCA R01-TW006481), the Pan American Health Organization, Eli Lilly and Company, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. A complete list of WMH publications can be found at


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Daniel O’Leary
    • 1
  • Nathan Tintle
    • 3
  • Evelyn J. Bromet
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Semyon F. Gluzman
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of PsychiatryStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Preventive MedicineStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Dept. of MathematicsHope CollegeHollandUSA
  4. 4.Ukrainian Psychiatric AssociationKyivUkraine

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