Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Police-Reported Intimate Partner Violence and Risk of Hospitalization among Women

Sherry Lipsky, Raul Caetano, Peter Roy-Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to examine racial and ethnic disparities in police-reported intimate partner violence (IPV) and hospitalization rates and rate ratios among women with police-reported IPV relative to those without such reports. Methods: This retrospective cohort study linked adult male-to-female IPV police records of non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White women residing in a south central US city with regional hospital discharge data. Rates and incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated and age-adjusted where the data allowed. Results: Police-reported IPV rates were 2-3 times higher among Black and Hispanic women compared with White women. Overall, hospitalization rates were higher among Black and White victims and lower among Hispanic victims than their counterparts in the comparison group (age-adjusted IRR [aIRR], 1.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08-1.41; aIRR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.19-1.79; and aIRR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.54-0.86, respectively). Rate ratios were significant for victims among 1) White women for any mental disorder (aIRR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.30-3.13) and for episodic mood/depressive disorders in particular (aIRR, 2.18; 95% CI, 1.33-3.59); 2) Black and White women for any injury-related diagnosis (aIRR, 2.46; 95% CI, 1.48-4.10 and aIRR, 3.20; 95% CI, 1.65-6.19, respectively); and 3) all women for intentional injury (IRR, 10.45; 95% CI, 3.56-30.69) and self-inflicted injury (IRR, 4.91; 95% CI, 2.12-11.37). Conclusions: Exposure to IPV as reported to police increases the rate of hospital utilization among Black and White women, but lowers the rate for Hispanic women. Screening for IPV in hospitals may identify a substantial number of IPV-exposed women. Primary and secondary prevention efforts related to IPV should be culturally informed and specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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