Prevalence of Emotional and Physical Intimate Partner Violence Among Married Women in Pakistan

Meesha Iqbal, Zafar Fatmi

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects millions of women across the world, and Pakistan is no exception. However, there is wide variance in reported frequencies worldwide and even within the same population. No standardized representative national and subnational estimates were available for IPV in Pakistan. We analyzed 3,666 ever-married women (15-49 years), from the most recent Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS; 2012-2013), to determine the prevalence of emotional and physical violence among women in Pakistan and its major subpopulations. The Conflicts Tactics Scale (CTS) was used to ascertain violence. Furthermore, we examined the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, which have the potential to increase the risk of emotional and physical violence. Weighted multivariate logistic regression was carried out to determine the association of IPV with the potential risk factors using Stata version 13.0. The prevalence of emotional and physical violence was, respectively, 36.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: [33.8, 39.1]) and 18.4% (95% CI: [16.4, 20.6]) in Pakistan. The frequency of emotional and physical violence was highest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK; 54.9% and 36.4%) followed by Balochistan (50.0% and 25.5%), Punjab (35.9% and 15.8%), and Sindh (24.7% and 13.3%) provinces. The prevalence of any form of violence (emotional or physical or both) was higher in rural than in urban areas (45.2% vs. 30.6%). Higher age of the husband and lower socioeconomic status were associated with emotional violence in KPK. Furthermore, alcohol intake by husbands and lower educational status of women or their husbands were associated with greater risk of emotional and physical violence across the provinces. IPV is high in Pakistan and large variations exist in the prevalence of violence across the provinces. The predictors of emotional and physical violence included occupation and education of the husband, alcohol intake, woman’s occupation, and wealth index. Further studies are needed to explore the underlying factors of violence and reasons for variation across different regions in the country for contextual interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP4998-NP5013
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Pakistan
  • intimate partner violence
  • prevalence


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