Violence and Reproductive Health: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions
- Cite this article as:
- Gazmararian, J.A., Petersen, R., Spitz, A.M. et al. Matern Child Health J (2000) 4: 79. doi:10.1023/A:1009514119423
Objectives: Despite the scope of violence against women and its importance for reproductive health, very few scientific data about the relationship between violence and reproductive health issues are available. Methods: The current knowledge base for several issues specific to violence and reproductive health, including association of violence with pregnancy, pregnancy intention, contraception use, pregnancy terminations, and pregnancy outcomes, are reviewed and suggestions are provided for future research. Results: Despite the limitations of current research and some inconclusive results, the existing research base clearly documents several important points: (1) violence occurs commonly during pregnancy (an estimated 4%–8% of pregnancies); (2) violence is associated with unintended pregnancies and may be related to inconsistent contraceptive use; and (3) the research is inconclusive about the relationship between violence and pregnancy outcomes. Conclusions: Improved knowledge of the risk factors for violence is critical for effective intervention design and implementation. Four areas that need improvement for development of new research studies examining violence and reproductive-related issues include (1) broadening of study populations, (2) refining data collection methodologies, (3) obtaining additional information about violence and other factors, and (4) developing and evaluating screening and intervention programs. The research and health care communities should act collaboratively to improve our understanding of why violence against women occurs, how it specifically affects reproductive health status, and what prevention strategies may be effective.