Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 47–59 | Cite as

Intimate Partner Violence in Self-identified Lesbians: a Meta-analysis of its Prevalence

  • Laura Badenes-Ribera
  • Dolores Frias-Navarro
  • Amparo Bonilla-Campos
  • Gemma Pons-Salvador
  • Hector Monterde-i-Bort


The present study is the first meta-analytic study about the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in self-identified lesbians in same-sex couples. It summarizes the scientific evidence from studies published from 1990 to 2013. First, 1,184 studies were identified, then 59 studies were pre-selected, and finally 14 studies were chosen that met the criteria for inclusion and methodological quality. The studies were conducted in the USA, using non-probabilistic sampling methods, and they were characterized by their high level of heterogeneity. The mean prevalence of victimization in IPV over the lifespan is 48 % (95 % CI, 44–52 %) and 15 % (95 % CI, 5–30 %) in the current/most recent relationship, with the difference being statistically significant between over the lifespan and current/most recent relationship IPV. The mean prevalence of victimization in physical violence over the lifespan is 18 % (95 % CI, 0–48 %), in sexual violence 14 % (95 % CI, 0–37 %), and in psychological/emotional violence 43 % (95 % CI, 14–73 %). The high prevalence suggests the need to implement IPV prevention programs among lesbians, as well as homophobia prevention programs. Moreover, the methodological quality of prevalence studies should be improved. The limited number of studies considered in each thematic block and the high heterogeneity of their results should be taken into account.


Lesbian Intimate partner violence Domestic violence Meta-analysis 



This study was possible due to the economic support of the VALi+d program for pre-doctoral Training of Research Personnel (ACIF/2013/167), Conselleria d′Educació, Cultura i Sport, Generalitat Valenciana (Spain).


An asterisk has been placed next to those references that are included in the systematic review.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Badenes-Ribera
    • 1
  • Dolores Frias-Navarro
    • 1
  • Amparo Bonilla-Campos
    • 2
  • Gemma Pons-Salvador
    • 3
  • Hector Monterde-i-Bort
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Methodology of the Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Basic Psychology, Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain

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