Intimate Partner Violence and Contraception among Adolescent Girls and Young Women: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Girl Power-Malawi Cohort



      In sub-Saharan Africa, sexually active adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) experience high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) and low levels of contraceptive use, but the effect of IPV on contraceptive use is not well understood.


      In the Girl Power-Malawi study, AGYW aged 15-24 were recruited from 4 health centers in Lilongwe, Malawi, and followed for 1 year. At baseline, AGYW were assessed for IPV using the modified Conflict Tactics Scale. AGYW reported contraceptive method use at 6 and 12 months, characterized as barrier, non-barrier, or any modern method. Modified Poisson regression was implemented to estimate risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to examine the effect of IPV on contraceptive use.


      One thousand AGYW were enrolled, and 954 non-pregnant participants were included. Baseline prevalence of IPV with the most recent partner was 35.5% (physical), 46.2% (sexual), and 76.9% (emotional). Baseline IPV did not affect contraceptive use at 6 months (aRR [95% CI]: physical 0.98 [0.91-1.05]; sexual 1.00 [0.94-1.07]; emotional 1.03 [0.94-1.12]) or 12 months (physical 0.95 [0.89-1.02]; sexual 0.96 [0.90-1.02]; emotional 0.98 [0.91-1.05]). None of the 3 IPV categories affected contraceptive use when the outcome was restricted to either barrier or non-barrier methods.


      In this cohort, IPV was not a key driver of contraceptive use in longitudinal analyses. Interventions are needed to address the alarming rates of IPV in this population, but addressing IPV alone might be insufficient to address low contraceptive use, and multifaceted youth-friendly health services might be necessary.



      AGYW (adolescent girls and young women), IPV (intimate partner violence), HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), IUD (intrauterine device), OC (oral contraceptive), DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe), PEPFAR (the United States President's emergency plan for AIDS relief), YFHS (youth-friendly health services), RR (risk ratio), aRR (adjusted risk ratio), CI (confidence interval)
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