Intimate Partner Violence during Pregnancy: What Does the Research Tell Us?
Article first published online: 12 FEB 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 3, Issue 2, pages 196–216, March 2009
How to Cite
Bergen, R. K. and Logue, M. A. (2009), Intimate Partner Violence during Pregnancy: What Does the Research Tell Us?. Sociology Compass, 3: 196–216. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2008.00190.x
- Issue published online: 18 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 12 FEB 2009
- Sociology Compass 3/2 (2009): 196–216, 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2008.00190.x
This article represents an interdisciplinary review of the current literature on intimate partner violence during pregnancy. Within the field of research, questions have been raised about whether or not women are at heightened risk for experiencing violence during pregnancy. We examined studies in both Western and non-Western contexts to examine this question and consider prevalence rates, causal factors, and the consequences for victims and their fetuses. We found that even with variations in methodology, the literature indicates that violence against women during pregnancy is a serious and complex problem. Women's experiences of violence vary greatly, and while pregnancy may serve as a protective period for some women, for others, pregnancy has been found to increase the violence or even lead to changes in types of violence. However, most studies emphasize physical violence, while frequently neglecting women's experiences of sexual violence. We call for researchers in a variety of fields to continue their critical work into this pressing issue, with particular attention to broadening the type of violence addressed and to expanding the focus to the post-partum period, improving the racial/ethnic diversity of samples, increasing the number of longitudinal studies, and recognizing variations between developed and developing nations.