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Psychometric properties of the WHO Violence Against Women instrument in a male population-based sample in Sweden
  1. Lotta Nybergh1,2,
  2. Charles Taft3,
  3. Gunilla Krantz1,2
  1. 1Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  2. 2The Västra Götaland Region Competence Centre on Intimate Partner Violence, Gothenburg, Sweden
  3. 3Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-centred Care, Gothenburg, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Lotta Nybergh; lotta.nybergh{at}


Objectives To explore the psychometric properties of the WHO's Violence Against Women instrument (VAWI) in a randomly selected national sample of Swedish men.

Design Cross-sectional survey study.

Setting Sweden.

Participants A postal survey was sent to 1009 men between January and March 2009, during which 458 men (45.4%) returned the questionnaire. 49 men who did not answer any of the violence items were excluded from the analyses, resulting in a final sample of 399 men.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Self-reported exposure to psychological, physical and sexual intimate partner violence.

Results Cronbach's α were 0.74 (psychological scale), 0.86 (physical scale), 0.82 (sexual scale) and 0.88 (total scale). Principal components analysis did not corroborate the conceptual three-dimensional model of the VAWI and other constructs were found. Past-year prevalence of physical (7.6%; 95% CI 5.0%  to 10.2%) and sexual (2.3%; 95% CI 0.8% to 3.8%) violence was higher than in other Nordic studies; earlier-in-life prevalence of physical violence (6.8%; CI 95% 4.3% to 9.3%) was lower and sexual violence (2.5%; 95% CI 1.0% to 4.0%) was higher. Reported exposure rates were generally higher than those obtained from a concurrently administered instrument (NorVold Abuse Questionnaire).

Conclusions The VAWI conceptual model was only partially replicated and boundaries between psychological, physical and sexual acts of violence were indistinct among men exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). This finding suggests that there is need for research instruments assessing intimate partner violence to be validated separately in male and female samples in order to ensure their suitability for the respective groups. Furthermore, theoretical frameworks for understanding men's exposure to intimate partner violence need to be advanced and should serve to guide in the development and evaluation of gender-specific IPV assessment instruments.

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • Statistics
  • Research Methods

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