Controlling Behavior Tied to Violence in Relationships

Female victims of physical or sexual violence more likely to experience controlling behavior

WEDNESDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Young women who are subject to controlling behaviors from a partner and suffering from physical and sexual relationship violence (RV) are more reticent about screening for RV, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Marina Catallozzi, M.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues assessed controlling behaviors in dating relationships of 603 young (15 to 24 years of age) women seeking reproductive care, and determined the association with physical and sexual RV. They further investigated whether such women supported RV screening and responded honestly. The main outcome was self-reported controlling behaviors and RV by a partner in the past year.

The investigators identified one or more episodes of controlling behavior in 68 percent of participants, with 38.1 percent experiencing only controlling behaviors, 11.4 percent facing controlling behavior and physical victimization, 10.0 percent experiencing controlling behavior and sexual victimization, and 8.6 percent reporting all forms of RV. Women experiencing increased episodes of controlling behavior were more likely to be aged 15 to 18 (relative risk [RR], 1.40), be Hispanic (RR, 1.29), have childhood exposure to domestic violence (RR, 1.11), have ever been pregnant (RR, 1.21), have an older partner (RR, 1.28), experience recent physical (RR, 1.89) or sexual victimization (RR, 1.93), and be uncomfortable asking for condoms (RR, 1.39). Young female victims of controlling behavior were more than twice as likely to object to health care provider screening, and women who experienced controlling behavior were 2.5 times more unlikely to honestly disclose RV.

"Controlling behaviors are strongly associated with physical and sexual RV," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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