Intimate partner violence and its association with physical and mental health symptoms among older women in Germany

Heidi Stockl, Bridget Penhale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Intimate partner violence is a commonly acknowledged health care issue. While numerous studies established the health implications of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence among women of reproductive age, the evidence is scarce for older women and for other forms of intimate partner violence. This study, therefore, investigates the prevalence of intimate partner violence in its different forms and its association with physical and mental health symptoms of older women, using women of reproductive age as a reference group. This study is a cross-sectional study, utilizing data from a national representative survey of 10,264 German women aged 16 to 86 years. Rates of physical and sexual intimate partner violence in the last year decreased from 8% to 3% and 1% among women aged 16 to 49 years, 50 to 65 years, and 66 to 86 years, respectively. The prevalence of emotional and economic abuse and controlling behavior by partners remained nearly the same. All forms of intimate partner violence had significant associations with women's health symptoms, such as gastrointestinal, psychosomatic and psychological symptoms, and pelvic problems. Controlling behavior was most consistently associated with most health symptoms. Health and care professionals who screen women for intimate partner violence should, therefore, consider incorporating questions about controlling behavior as well, because this form of violence is not only frequent but also has multiple health outcomes among women across all ages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3089-3111
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number17
Early online date30 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • anything related to domestic violence
  • battered women
  • domestic violence
  • elder abuse
  • mental health and violence

Cite this