Intimate Partner Violence among Service Members and Veterans: Differences by Sex and Rurality


Social Work

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Among military service members and veterans (SMVs), factors unique to military service may contribute to an elevated risk of experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization. Although rurality has been established as a risk factor for IPV, differences in IPV victimization by rural– urban dwelling location, SMV status, and sex have not been explored. The purpose of this study was to estimate the rate of IPV victimization in rural and urban areas in the United States by SMV status and sex. We obtained Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data (BRFSS; n = 18,755); fit a mixed-effects, multilevel generalized linear model to the data for IPV victimization; and linked the model to U.S. Census Bureau population count data. We generated predicted estimates of IPV for SMVs and civilians separately by sex in rural and urban areas. The direct IPV victimization prevalence rate for the entire BRFSS sample was 16.90%. Substantial variation in model-based IPV prevalence was observed across subgroups. Female SMVs (rural = 23.54%, 95% confidence interval [CI] [17.33, 30.02]; urban = 23.34%, 95% CI [17.48, 30.17]) had higher IPV victimization rates than female civilians (rural = 14.55%, 95% CI [13.06, 16.37]; urban = 14.50%, 95% CI [13.19, 16.34]), whereas male civilians (rural = 8.06%, 95% CI [7.19, 9.08]; urban = 8.02%, 95% CI [7.27, 9.02]) had higher IPV victimization rates than male SMVs (rural = 7.21%, 95% CI [6.03, 8.47]; urban = 7.17%, 95% CI [6.00, 8.41]). Programming for preventing and assisting in recovering from IPV exposure should target rural-dwelling female SMVs.

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Albright, D. L., McDaniel, J., Godfrey, K., Carlson, C., Fletcher, K. L., & Thomas, K. H. (2020). Intimate partner violence among service members and veterans: Differences by sex and rurality. Traumatology. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000236