Skip to main content
Log in

Gender Differences in Health Symptoms Associated with the Exposure to Physical Violence in Family: Data from the 2006 National Health Survey in Serbia

Journal of Family Violence Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Cite this article

Abstract

This study analyzed gender differences in exposure to family violence in Serbia and its association with health symptoms. Using data from the National Health Survey 2006 in Serbia, univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were run to examine the association between exposure to physical violence in the family (in the past 12 months) and the occurrence of 15 different health symptoms (in the past 4 weeks). Out of 12,646 interviewed adults (older than 20), women reported experiencing family violence nearly 1.7 times more often than men (1.28 % vs. 0.75 %). Women had nine health symptoms significantly associated with experienced violence, while men had four, even after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics. Depression and insomnia were common for both genders. Results suggest that physicians should pay attention to health complaints, consider family violence as an associated factor, and address violence in a gender sensitive way that is free of prejudice and preconceptions.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Anderson, K. L. (2005). Theorizing gender in intimate partner violence research. Sex Roles, 52, 835–865. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-4204-x.

    Google Scholar 

  • Babović, M., Ginić, K., & Vuković, O. (2010). Mapiranje porodičnog nasilja prema ženama u Centralnoj Srbiji. Projekat borba protiv seksualnog i rodno zasnovanog nasilja [Mapping family violence in central Serbia. Project: Combating sexual and gender based violence]. Belgrade: Directorate for Gender Equity, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

  • Campbell, J. (2002). Health consequences of intimate partner violence. The Lancet, 359, 1331–1336. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08336-8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Campbell, J., Jones, A. S., Dienemann, J., Kub, J., Schollenberger, J., O’Campo, P., et al. (2002). Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences. Archives Internal Medicine, 162, 1157–1163. doi:10.1001/archinte.162.10.1157.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coker, A. L., Smith, P. H., Bethea, L., King, M. R., & McKeown, R. E. (2000). Physical health consequences of physical and psychological intimate partner violence. Achieves Family Medicine, 9, 451–457. doi:10.1001/archfami.9.5.451.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Coker, A. L., Davis, K. E., Arias, I., Desai, S., Sanderson, M., Brandt, H. M., et al. (2002). Physical and mental health effects of intimate partner violence for men and women. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23, 260–268.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Djikanovic, B., Jansen, A. F. M. H., & Otasevic, S. (2010). Factors associated with intimate partner violence against women in Serbia: a cross sectional study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 64, 728–735.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dutton, N., & Nicholls, T. (2005). The gender paradigm in domestic violence research and theory: part 1—the conflict of theory and data. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 680–714.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dutton, M. A., Green, B. L., Kaltman, S. I., Roesch, D. M., Zeffiro, T. A., & Krause, E. D. (2006). Intimate partner violence, PTSD, and adverse health outcomes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 955–968. doi:10.1177/0886260506289178.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ellsberg, M., & Heise, L. (2005). Researching violence against women: A practical guide for researchers and activists. Washington DC: World Health Organization, PATH.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ellsberg, M., Jansen, H. A. F. M., Heise, L., Watts, C. H., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2008). Intimate partner violence and women’s physical and mental health in the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence: an observational study. The Lancet, 371, 1165–1172. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60522-X.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., et al. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14, 245–258. doi:10.1016/S0749-3797(98)00017-8.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Garcia Moreno, C., Jansen, H. A. F. M., Ellsberg, M., Heise, L., & Watts, C. (2005). WHO multi-country study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women: Initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women’s responses. Geneva: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcia Moreno, C., Jansen, H. A. F. M., Ellsberg, M., Heise, L., & Watts, C. (2006). Prevalence of intimate partner violence: findings from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence. The Lancet, 368, 1260–1269. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69523-8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Golding, J. (1999). Intimate partner violence as a risk factor for mental disorders: a meta-analysis. Journal of Family Violence, 14, 99–132. doi:10.1023/A:1022079418229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hamberg, K. (2008). Gender bias in medicine. Women’s Health, 4, 237–243.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Herek, G. M. (1991). Stigma, prejudice, and violence against lesbian and gay men. In J. C. Gonsiorek & J. D. Weinrich (Eds.), Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy (pp. 60–80). Newbury Park: Sage Publication.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jansen, H. A. F. M., Watts, C., Ellsberg, M., Heise, L., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2004). Interviewer training in the WHO multi-country study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence. Violence Against Women, 10, 831–849.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kimmel, M. S. (2002). “Gender symmetry” in domestic violence. Violence Against Women, 8, 1332–1363. doi:10.1177/107780102237407.

    Google Scholar 

  • Krug, E. G., Mercy, J. A., Dahlberg, L. L., & Zwi, A. B. (2002). World report on violence and health: Violence against women. Geneva: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lagro-Janssen, A., Lo Fo Wong, S., & van den Muijsenbergh, M. (2008). The importance of gender in health problems. European Journal of General Practice, 14, 33–37.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leung, T. W., Leung, W. C., Ng, E. H. Y., & Ho, P. C. (2005). Quality of life of victims of intimate partner violence. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 90, 258–262.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • MacMillan, H. L., Wathen, C. N., Jamieson, E., Boyle, M., McNutt, L. A., Worster, A., et al. (2006). Approaches to screening for intimate partner violence in health care settings: a randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296, 530–536. doi:10.1177/107780102237407.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ministry of Health Republic of Serbia. (2006). National Health Survey Republic of Serbia. Key findings. Author: Belgrade.

    Google Scholar 

  • Modesitt, S. C., Gambrell, A. C., Cottrill, H. M., Hays, L. R., Walker, R., Shelton, B. J., et al. (2006). Adverse impact of a history of violence for women with breast, cervical, endometrial, or ovarian cancer. Obstetrics Gynaecology, 107, 1330–1336. doi:10.1097/01.AOG.0000217694.18062.91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mrkic, S. (2009). Methodological overview of surveys on violence against women by United Nations Statistics Division. Report ESA/STAT/AC 193/1. New York: United Nations.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nelson, H. D., Nygren, P., McInerney, Y., & Klein, J. (2004). Screening women and elderly adults for family and intimate partner violence: a review of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of Internal Medicine, 140, 387–396.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • NerÃien, A. I., & Schei, B. (2008). Partner violence and health: results from the first national study on violence against women in Norway. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 36, 161–168. doi:10.1177/1403494807085188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nicolaidis, C., Curry, M., & Gerrity, M. (2005). Health care workers’ expectations and empathy toward patients in abusive relationships. Journal of American Board of Family Medicine, 18, 159–165.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Otašević, S. (2005). Nasilje u partnerskim odnosima i zdravlje [Violence in intimate partner relationships and health]. Belgrade: Autonomous Women Center.

    Google Scholar 

  • Otašević, S. (2011). Posebni protokol Ministarstva zdravlja Republike Srbije za zaštitu i postupanje sa ženama koje su izložene nasilju [Specific Protocol of Ministry of Health Republic of Serbia, for healthcare and protection of women exposed to violence]. Belgrade: Ministry of Health Republic of Serbia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pennebaker, J. W. (1982). The psychology of physical symptoms. New York: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Plichta, S. B. (2004). Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 1296–1323. doi:10.1177/0886260504269685.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ramsay, J., Richardson, J., Carter, Y. H., Davidson, L. L., & Feder, G. (2002). Should health professionals screen women for domestic violence? Systematic review. British Medical Journal, 325, 314. doi:10.1136/bmj.325.7359.314.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rees, S., Silove, D., Chey, T., Ivancic, L., Steel, Z., Creamer, M., et al. (2011). Lifetime prevalence of gender-based violence in women and the relationship with mental disorders and psychosocial function. Journal of the American Medical Association, 306, 513–521. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1098.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Richardson, J. R., Feder, G., & Coid, J. (2002). Domestic violence affects women more than men. British Medical Journal, 325, 779. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7332.274.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ruiz-Cantero, M. T., Vives-Cases, C., Artazcoz, L., Delgado, A., Garcia Calvente, M. D. M., Miqueo, C., et al. (2007). A framework to analyse gender bias in epidemiological research. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 61, ii46–ii53. doi:10.1136/jech.2007.062034.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ruiz-Perez, I., Plazaola-Castano, J., & Vives-Cases, C. (2007a). Methodological issues in the study of violence against women. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 61, ii26–ii31. doi:10.1136/jech.2007.059907.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ruiz-Perez, I., Plazaola-Castano, J., & del Rio-Lozano, M. (2007b). Physical health consequences of intimate partner violence in Spanish women. European Journal of Public Health, 17, 437–443. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckl280.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rutstein, S., & Johnson, K. (2004). The DHS wealth index. DHS comparative reports no 6. Calverton: ORC Macro.

    Google Scholar 

  • Statistical Yearbook of Serbia. (2006). Belgrade: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.

  • Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Prevalence and consequences of male-to-female and female-to-male intimate partner violence as measured by the National Violence Against Women Survey. Violence Against Women, 6, 142–161. doi:10.1177/10778010022181769.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vives-Cases, C., Ruiz-Cantero, M. T., Escriba-Aguir, V., & Miralles, J. J. (2011). The effect of intimate partner violence and other forms of violence against women on health. Journal of Public Health, 33, 15–21. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdq101.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Walton-Moss, B., Manganello, J., Frye, V., & Campbell, J. (2005). Risk factors for intimate partner violence and associated injury among urban women. Journal of Community Health, 30, 377–389.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The 2006 National Health Survey for the population of Serbia (without data on Kosovo and Metohia) was conducted by the Ministry of Health Republic of Serbia with financial and professional support from the World Bank’s Serbia Health Project, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe—Country Office Serbia, and the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut”. This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technological Development of Serbia (Project No 175025).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bosiljka Djikanovic.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Djikanovic, B., King, E.J. & Bjegovic-Mikanovic, V. Gender Differences in Health Symptoms Associated with the Exposure to Physical Violence in Family: Data from the 2006 National Health Survey in Serbia. J Fam Viol 28, 753–761 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-013-9545-6

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-013-9545-6

Keywords

Navigation