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Marital Violence and Women's Reproductive Health Care in Uttar Pradesh, India
Authors: S. Sudha, and Sharon Morrison
Source: Women's Health Issues, 21(3): 214-221; DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2011.01.004
Topic(s): Domestic violence
Reproductive health
Women's health
Country: Asia
Published: MAY 2011
Abstract: Objective: Although the impact of marital violence on women’s reproductive health is recognized globally, there is little research on how women’s experience of and justification of marital violence in developing country settings is linked to sexually transmitted infection (STI) symptom reporting, and seeking care for the symptoms. Method: This study analyzes data on 9,639 currently married women from India’s 2006–2007 National Family Health Survey-3 from the Central/Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The likelihood of currently married women’s reporting STIs or symptoms, and the likelihood of seeking care for these, are analyzed using multivariate logistic regression techniques. Results: Currently married women’s experience of physical, sexual, and emotional marital violence in the last 12 months was significantly associated with greater likelihood of reporting a STI or symptom (odds ratio [OR], 1.364 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.171–1.588] for physical violence; OR, 1.649 [95% CI, 1.323–2.054] for sexual violence; OR, 1.273 [95% CI, 1.117–1.450] for emotional violence). Experience of physical violence (OR, 0.728; 95% CI, 0.533–0.994) and acceptance of any justification for physical violence (OR, 0.590; 95% CI, 0.458–0.760) were significantly associated with decreased chance of seeking care, controlling for other factors. Conclusion: This study suggests that experiencing marital violence may have a negative impact on multiple aspects of women’s reproductive health, including increased self-report of STI symptoms. Moreover, marital physical violence and accepting justification for such violence are associated with decreased chance of seeking care. Thus, policies and programs to promote reproductive health should incorporate decreasing gender-based violence, and overcoming underlying societal gender inequality. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]