Understanding Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the Rural South

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Most U.S. intimate partner violence (IPV) research to date has been limited to women residing in urban areas, with the small body of research focusing on rural populations being primarily qualitative. In this case-control study of Southern rural women, while many factors are consistent with those found in urban settings, unlike findings elsewhere, IPV risk appears to increase with age, and race showed no increased risk. Furthermore, in rural areas where guns are more acceptable than in other parts of the United States, partners of IPV victims are considerably more likely to carry weapons than partners of nonabused women. Given the geographic limitations to police and medical response to severe IPV in a rural setting, an improved understanding of IPV risk among this population can aid health care providers in ascertaining risk before it escalates further.

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