The Effects of Intimate Partner Violence Duration on Individual and Partner-Related Sexual Risk Factors Among Women


  • Holly B. Fontenot PhD, RN, WHNP-BC,

    Corresponding author
    • Address correspondence to Holly B. Fontenot, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Cushing Hall, Chestnut Hill MA 02467. E-mail:

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  • Heidi Collins Fantasia PhD, RN, WHNP-BC,

  • Terrence J. Lee-St. John PhD,

  • Melissa A. Sutherland PhD, RN, FNP-BC



Intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV among women, but less is known about mechanisms of this association and if length of relationship violence is a factor. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the duration of IPV and both individual and partner-related sexual risk factors that may increase women's risk for STIs and HIV.


This was a secondary analysis of data collected from the medical records of 2000 women. Four distinct categories defined the duration of partner violence: violence in the past year only, past year and during the past 5 years, past year plus extending for greater than 5 years, and no past year violence but a history of partner violence. Logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between the duration of partner violence and individual sexual risk behaviors (eg, number of sexual partners, drug and/or alcohol use, anal sex) and partner-related sexual risk factors (eg, nonmonogamy, STI risk, condom nonuse).


Nearly 30% of the women in the study reported a history of partner violence during their lifetime. All of the individual risk factors, as well as partner-related risk factors, were significantly associated (P < .05) with partner violence and duration of violence.


The study findings extend the knowledge related to partner violence as a risk factor for STIs/HIV, highlighting the effects of partner violence duration on the health of women. Assessing for lifetime experiences of partner violence may improve outcomes for women and their families.