Intimate Partner Violence And Abuse Experience And Perpetration In UK military Personnel Compared To A General Population Cohort: A Cross-sectional Study

Background: Research exploring prevalence of, and factors associated with, increased risk of experiencing or perpetrating Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPVA) in military communities is limited. This study aimed to describe IPVA prevalence in a military sample, explore the role of military-specific risk factors, and draw comparisons with a general population cohort.

Methods: We utilised data from a sample of military personnel participating in a cohort studyof the health and wellbeing of UK military personnel who reported having an intimate relationship in the previous 12 months (n = 5557). To allow for comparison with civilian populations, participants from a general population cohort study in England (n = 6075) were matched on age and sex to the military cohort (n = 8093).

Findings: The 12-month prevalences of IPVA experience and perpetration in the military sample were 12.80% (95% CI 11.72–13.96%) and 9.40% (8.45–10.45%), respectively. Factors associated with both increased IPVA experience and perpetration included childhood adversity, relationship dissatisfaction, military trauma, and recent mental health and alcohol misuse problems. Compared to the civilian cohort, adjusted odds (95% CI) of IPVA experience and perpetration were higher in the military: 2.94 (2.15–4.01) and 3.41 (1.79–6.50), respectively.

Interpretation: This study found higher prevalences of IPVA experience and perpetration in the military compared to the general population cohort and highlighted both non-military and military factors associated with increased risk of both. Relationship dissatisfaction, military trauma and mental health difficulties mark key areas for IPVA prevention and management efforts to target.

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