Family adversity and health characteristics associated with intimate partner violence in children and parents presenting to health care: a population-based birth cohort study in England

Article


Syed, S., Gilbert, R., Feder, G., Howe, L. D., Powell, C., Howarth, E., Deighton, J. and Lacey, R. E. 2023. Family adversity and health characteristics associated with intimate partner violence in children and parents presenting to health care: a population-based birth cohort study in England. The Lancet Public Health. 8 (7), pp. e520-e534. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(23)00119-6
AuthorsSyed, S., Gilbert, R., Feder, G., Howe, L. D., Powell, C., Howarth, E., Deighton, J. and Lacey, R. E.
Abstract

Background
Little is known about the clinical characteristics of children and parents affected by intimate partner violence (IPV) presenting in health-care settings. We examined the associations between family adversities, health characteristics, and IPV in children and parents using linked electronic health records (EHRs) from primary and secondary care between 1 year before and 2 years after birth (the first 1000 days). We compared parental health problems in in children and parents with and without recorded IPV.

Methods
We developed a population-based birth cohort of children and parents (aged 14–60 years) in England, comprising linked EHRs from mother–child pairs (with no identified father) and mother–father–child triads. We followed the cohort across general practices (Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD), emergency departments, outpatient visits, hospital admissions, and mortality records. Family adversities included 33 clinical indicators of parental mental health problems, parental substance misuse, adverse family environments, and high-risk child maltreatment-related presentations. Parental health problems included 12 common comorbidities, ranging from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases to chronic pain or digestive diseases. We used adjusted and weighted logistic-regression models to estimate the probability of IPV (per 100 children and parents) associated with each adversity, and period prevalences of parental health problems associated with IPV.

Findings
We included 129 948 children and parents, comprising 95 290 (73·3%) mother–father–child triads and 34 658 (26·7%) mother–child pairs only between April 1, 2007, and Jan 29, 2020. An estimated 2689 (2·1%) of 129 948 children and parents (95% CI 2·0–2·3) had recorded IPV and 54 758 (41·2%; 41·5–42·2) had any family adversity between 1 year before and 2 years after birth. All family adversities were significantly associated with IPV. Most parents and children with IPV had recorded adversities (1612 [60·0%] of 2689) before their first IPV recording. The probability of IPV was 0·6 per 100 children and parents (95% CI 0·5–0·6) with no adversity, increasing to 4·4 per 100 children per parents (4·2–4·7) with one adversity, and up to 15·1 per 100 parents and children (13·6–16·5) with three of more adversities. Mothers with IPV had a significantly higher prevalence of both physical (73·4% vs 63·1%, odds ratio [OR] 1·6, 95% CI 1·4–1·8) and mental health problems (58·4% vs 22·2%, OR 4·9, 4·4–5·5) than mothers without IPV. Fathers with IPV had a higher prevalence of mental health problems (17·8% vs 7·1%, OR 2·8, 2·4–3·2) and similar prevalences of physical health problems than those without IPV (29·6% vs 32·4%, OR 0·9, 0·8–1·0).

Interpretation
Two in five of the children and parents presenting to health care had recorded parental mental health problems, parental substance misuse, adverse family environments, or high-risk presentations of maltreatment in the first 1000 days. One in 22 children and parents with family adversity also had recorded IPV before age 2 years. Primary and secondary care staff should safely ask about IPV when parents or children present with family adversity or health problems associated with IPV, and respond appropriately.

JournalThe Lancet Public Health
Journal citation8 (7), pp. e520-e534
ISSN2468-2667
Year2023
PublisherElsevier
Publisher's version
License
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Anyone
Supplemental file
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(23)00119-6
Publication dates
Online29 Jun 2023
PrintJul 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Apr 2024
FunderNational Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Health Data Research UK
UK Prevention Research Partnership
Copyright holder© 2023, The Authors
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