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Background: The mental and physical health consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) have been well established, yet little is known about the impact of violence on a woman’s ability to obtain and maintain housing. This cross-sectional study examines the relationship between recent IPV and housing instability among a representative sample of California women. It is expected that women who have experienced IPV will be at increased risk for housing instability as evidenced by: (1) late rent or mortgage, (2) frequent moves because of difficulty obtaining affordable housing, and/or (3) without their own housing.

Methods: Data were taken from the 2003 California Women’s Health Survey, a population-based, random-digit-dial, annual probability survey of adult California women (N=3619). Logistic regressions were used to predict housing instability in the past 12 months, adjusting for the following covariates; age, race/ethnicity, education, poverty status, marital status, children in the household, and past year IPV.

Results: In the multivariate model, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, poverty, and IPV were significant predictors of housing instability. After adjusting for all covariates, women who experienced IPV in the last year had almost four times the odds of reporting housing instability than women who did not experience IPV (adjusted odds ratio=3.98, 95% confidence interval: 2.94–5.39).

Conclusions: This study found that IPV was associated with housing instability among California women. Future prospective studies are needed to learn more about the nature and direction of the relationship between IPV and housing instability and the possible associated negative health consequences. (Authors)
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