Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 437–445 | Cite as

Prevalence of Violence During Pregnancy: Findings from a Jordanian Survey



Background Violence during pregnancy is a significant health and social problem. In the last few years several factors have contributed to the emergence of family violence as a high priority social and health issue in Jordan, and the acknowledgement that abuse during pregnancy is a harmful act to the mother and the fetus. The purposes of this study were to investigate the prevalence of physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual violence on pregnant women, and to describe the relationships between violence and selected study variables. Methods A descriptive study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire. A convenience sample of 316 pregnant women was recruited from five Maternal and Child Health Centers, located in Irbid City in the North of Jordan. Results The prevalence of physical, emotional, verbal and sexual violence by husbands during pregnancy was 10.4%, 23.4%, 23.7%, and 5.7%, respectively. Prevalence of physical, emotional and verbal violence by a family member other than the husband was 1.9%, 11.1% and 13.9%, respectively, and most perpetrators were the mother in-law. Data also showed that there was a significant association between prevalence of violence and unplanned pregnancy, the pregnant women’s perception of their husband’s violent attributes and the women’s low self-esteem. Pre- and post-natal visits should include assessment for family violence and intervention when violence or abuse is identified. The findings support continued public awareness of family violence to bring about social and political changes that increase reporting and reduce incidence of violence in Jordan.


Violence Pregnancy Jordan 


  1. 1.
    Humphreys, J., Parker, B., & Campbell, J. (2001). Intimate partner violence against women. Annual Review of Nursing Research, 19, 275–306.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Etienne, G. (2002). World report on violence and health (pp. 89–121). Geneva: World Health Organization Publication.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    John, R., Johnson, J. K., Kukreja, S., Foynd, M., & Lindow, S. W. (2004). Domestic violence: Prevalence and association with gynecological symptoms. An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 111, 1128–1132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cokers, A. L., Sanderson, M., & Dong, B. (2004). Partner violence during pregnancy and risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 18, 260–269. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2004.00569.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Campbell, J., et al. (2002). Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences. Archives of Internal Medicine, 162(10), 1157–1163. doi: 10.1001/archinte.162.10.1157.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    The Jordanian Department of Statistics Statistical Year Book. (2007). Amman, Jordan.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Oweis, A. J. (2007). In C. D’Avanzo (Ed.), Mosby’s pocket guide to cultural health assessment (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Inc.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Shakatreh, F., Shtaiw, M., Gharaibeh, M., & Oweis, A. (2005). Jordanian public attitudes toward domestic violence. Amman, Jordan: National Council for Family Affairs.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    United Nations Development Fund for Women. (2004). The status of Jordanian women report. Amman, Jordan.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nasser, L., Belbeisi, B., & Atiyat, D. (2000). Violence against women in Jordan: Demographic characteristics of victims and perpetrators. The Human Forum for Women’s Rights. Amman: Jordan Press Foundation.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jordan Population and Family Health Survey (JPFHS). (2002). Summary and recommendation of the population and family health survey. Amman, Jordan.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gharaibeh, M., & Al-Ma’aitah, R. (2002). The cultural meaning of violence against women: Jordanian women’s perspective. Guidance & Counseling, 18(1), 2–9.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Walton-Moss, B., & Campbell, J. (2002). Intimate partner violence: Implications for nursing. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 7(1), 6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ahmed, A., & Elmardi, A. (2005). A study of domestic violence among women attending a medical centre in Sudan. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 11(1–2), 164–174.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Oweis, A., Muntaha, G., Natour, A., & Froelicher, E. (2009). Violence against women: Unveiling the suffering of women with a low income in Jordan. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 20, 69–76. doi: 10.1177/1043659608325848.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Guo, S. F., Wu, J. L., Qu, C. Y., & Yan, R. Y. (2004). Physical and sexual abuse of women before, during, and after pregnancy. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics: The Official Organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 48, 281–286. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2003.08.019.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ellsberg, M. C., Pena, R., Herrera, A., Liljestrand, J., & Winkvist, A. (1999). Wife abuse among women of child-bearing age in Nicaragua. American Journal of Public Health, 89, 241–242. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.89.2.241.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Scholar
  19. 19.
    Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2006). Essentials of nursing research: Methods, appraisal, and utilization (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nasir, K., & Hyder, A. A. (2003). Violence against pregnant women in developing countries. European of Public Health, 13, 105–107. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/13.2.105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Karaoglu, L. (2005). Physical, emotional and sexual violence during pregnancy in Malatya, Turkey. European Journal of Public Health, 16(2), 149–156. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cki161.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Martin, S. L., Griffin, J. M., Kupper, L. K., Petersen, R., Beck-Warden, M., & Buescher, P. A. (2001). Stressful life events and physical abuse among pregnant women in North Carolina. Maternal and Child Health, 5(3), 145–152. doi: 10.1023/A:1011339716244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Usta, J., Farver, J., & Pashayan, N. (2007). Domestic violence: The Lebanese experience. Public Health, 121, 208–219. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2006.09.014.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arwa Oweis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Muntaha Gharaibeh
    • 2
  • Rudaina Alhourani
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of NursingPhiladelphia UniversityAmmanJordan
  2. 2.Maternal and Child Health Nursing Department, Faculty of NursingJordan University of Science and TechnologyIrbidJordan
  3. 3.IrbidJordan

Personalised recommendations