Disability, Gender and Intimate Partner Violence: Relationships from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


Research on women with disabilities has found that the most common perpetrators of violence were current or former intimate partners (Young et al. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil. 78, S34–S38, 1997; Riddington, Beating the “odds”: Violence and Women with Disabilities (Position Paper 2). 1989). This article examines intimate partner sexual and physical abuse experienced by women with disabilities compared to women without disabilities and men with and without disabilities through chi square analysis and regression analysis using data from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Results show that women with disabilities experienced almost twice the rate of all forms of abuse compared to the other populations. Variables increasing the likelihood of abuse include being female, disabled, not employed, uncoupled and younger age. Implications for future research, screening and intervention for rehabilitation professionals are discussed.

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Correspondence to Diane L. Smith.

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Smith, D.L. Disability, Gender and Intimate Partner Violence: Relationships from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Sex Disabil 26, 15–28 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-007-9064-6

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  • Women with disabilities
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Rehabilitation