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Gendered patterns of high violence exposure among Swedish youth
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
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2009 (English)In: Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, ISSN 1600-0412, Vol. 88, no 5, 528-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: The WHO describes violence as a global public health problem. In contrast to domestic violence, violence against youth has been little explored. Our aims were to investigate the prevalence and gender differences in relation to emotional, physical and sexual abuse among young men and women attending youth health centers in Sweden, the current adverse effects of the abuse and the perpetrators of the abuse. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Nationally representative youth health centers in Sweden. POPULATION AND METHODS: In total, 2,250 women and 920 men aged 15-23 years answered a validated questionnaire about emotional, physical and sexual abuse. RESULTS: A total of 33% (CI: 31-35) of the young women and 18% (CI: 16-21) of the young men had been exposed to emotional abuse during the past year. For physical abuse, 18% (CI: 17-20) of the women and 27% (CI: 24-30) of the men stated that they had been abused during the past year. The gender differences for sexual abuse were pronounced, with 14% (CI: 12-15) of the young women and 4.7% (CI: 3.3-6.0) of the men stating that they had been abused during the past 12 months. The young women reported more severe adverse effects from all types of abuse and were more often abused by a person close to them. CONCLUSIONS: The exposure to violence among young people is alarming and presents prominent gender differences, and should be taken into serious consideration as it is a matter of health, democracy and human rights.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 88, no 5, 528-35 p.
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30570DOI: 10.1080/00016340902846056PubMedID: 19353335OAI: diva2:284727
Available from: 2010-01-08 Created: 2010-01-08 Last updated: 2015-08-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Violence exposure among Swedish youth
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Violence exposure among Swedish youth
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]


Violence is a global public health problem and violence among youth is a matter of high priority. Adolescence and young adulthood are important periods for the foundation of future health. Youth victimization may have serious health consequences, making it important to address the occurrence and socio-medical context for possible interventions against violence.


To analyze prevalence, risk patterns and gender differences in emotional, physical, sexual, and multiple-violence victimizations and the associations between violence victimization and sexual ill health, sexual risk behaviors and mental health in Swedish youth.


A cross sectional study using two samples, a national sample from nine youth health centers in Sweden and a population-based sample from a middle-sized Swedish city. The questionnaire included standardized instruments addressing violence exposure (NorAQ), socio-demographics, mental and sexual ill-health and sexual risk behaviors, alcohol and substance use. Proportions and crude and adjusted odds ratios with a 95% CI were calculated.


A total of 2,250 young women and 920 men, aged 15-23, answered the questionnaire at the youth health centers. In upper secondary school, 1,658 women and 1,589 men, aged 15-22, answered the questionnaire.

High prevalence rates with gendered differences both in rates and in co-occurrence of different types of violence were found. Women were more often exposed to emotional violence and sexual violence than men, while men were more often physically victimized. For both women and men, violence victimization before the age of 15 was strongly associated with all types of violence victimizations during the past year.

Strong associations were found between multiple-violence victimization and poor mental health in both genders. Among the sexually experienced students, consistent associations between lifetime multiple-violence victimization and various sexual ill-health and sexual risk behaviors were found in both genders, except for non-contraceptive use.


High prevalence of violence victimization in youth and strong associations between victimization, especially multiple victimization, and poor mental and sexual health were found. This needs to be recognized and addressed in social and medical settings.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2015. 70 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1730
violence, adolescent, self-injurious behaviour, suicidal ideation, mental health, reproductive health, youth
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107673 (URN)978-91-7601-291-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-09-18, Aulan, Utbildningsavdelningen, hiss 8, plan 1, Sundsvalls sjukhus, Sundsvall, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-08-28 Created: 2015-08-26 Last updated: 2015-08-27Bibliographically approved

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Danielsson, IngelaBlom, HelenaHögberg, Ulf
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