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Intimate partner violence and childhood illnesses in Cambodia: a cross-sectional study
  1. Michelle Kao Nakphong1,2,
  2. Ondine S von Ehrenstein1,2,3
  1. 1 Department of Community Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2 California Center for Population Research, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  3. 3 Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Michelle Kao Nakphong, Department of Community Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; hmkao{at}ucla.edu

Abstract

Background Around a quarter of Cambodian women reported being victim to intimate partner violence (IPV) from their current partner. Children’s exposure to familial IPV impacts psychosocial well-being and emerging research indicates associations with physical health.

Objective Investigate associations between maternal experience of IPV and common childhood illnesses in Cambodia.

Design, setting, participants Analysis of the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey (2000, 2005, 2014) using logistic regression, including 5025 children under 5 years of age whose mothers responded to questions about experience of emotional, physical and sexual violence by current partner.

Main outcome measures Report of diarrhoea, acute respiratory infection (ARI) or fever, respectively, in children in the two weeks preceding the survey.

Results Children of mothers with experience of any type of IPV had estimated elevated odds of diarrhoea (adjusted OR (aOR)=1.65, 95% CI 1.39 to 1.97), estimated odds of ARI (aOR=1.78, 95% CI 1.47 to 2.16) and estimated odds of fever (aOR=1.51, 95% CI 1.31 to 1.76) compared with children of mothers without reported IPV experience. Exposure to any form of IPV corresponded to an estimated 2.65 times higher odds (95% CI 2.01 to 3.51) for reporting having both diarrhoea and ARI.

Conclusions Our findings support the notion that children’s susceptibility to diarrhoea, ARI and fever may be affected by mothers’ experience of IPV, including emotional violence. Maternal and child health programmes should train healthcare professionals to identify domestic violence and children at risk, and link victims to appropriate health and legal services.

  • intimate partner violence
  • child health
  • domestic violence
  • diarrhea
  • respiratory tract infections
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Footnotes

  • Contributors MKN conceived of the study, conducted analyses and was the primary author. OvE supported the development of the work, contributed to the analytic approach, data interpretation and manuscript preparation.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Questions and procedures were approved by the ICF International IRB to ensure compliance with US regulations for the protection of human subjects (45-CFR-46).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository.

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