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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


RABELLO, Patrícia Moreira  and  CALDAS JUNIOR, Arnaldo de França. Violence against women, family cohesion and drugs. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.41, n.6, pp.970-978. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between cohesion, adaptability and mental risk in families, physical violence against women and the use of drugs. METHODS: Data for this paired case-control study was collected in 2004 and 2005 in the city of Joao Pessoa, in Northeastern Brazil. The sample included 260 women, divided into 130 battered individuals and 130 non-battered. The case study group consisted of women who lodged complaints for domestic violence at the Specialist Women's Police Station. The control group was made up of women living in the same neighborhood as those who had made the complaint. Cohesion, adaptability and mental risk were all measured using the "Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales". For the statistical analysis the Chi-square and the Fisher's Exact Tests ere used, at a significance level of 5%. RESULTS: The two groups differed for measures relating to mental risk and cohesion, but had similar results for family adaptability (p=0.0917). The women victims of domestic violence had high (43.1%) and medium (39.2%) mental risk, while the non-victims had only medium risk (55.4%). There was a significant difference in drug use between the two groups, with greater consumption among the families of battered women (90.8%) compared with those of non-battered women (56.9%). The most widely used drug was alcohol, which also represented the highest risk factor for aggression if consumed daily (OR=37.33) or in conjunction with other drugs (OR=29,56). CONCLUSIONS: Both the instability caused by a lack of family unity and the use of drugs significantly affect family functioning and may give rise to conflict and domestic violence.

Keywords : Violence against women; Substance-related disorders; Mental health; Case-control studies.

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