Family violence among mothers seen at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria

B A Ayinmode, M F Tunde-Ayinmode


Objective. The attention given to family violence (FV) in primary medical care in Nigeria is still very insufficient in relation to its known adverse medical and psychosocial implications for women’s health. The objective of this preliminary study was to assess the prevalence rate, correlates and effects of FV among mothers attending a primary care facility in Nigeria, with the aim of gaining an understanding of whether screening for FV in the primary care setting in Nigeria would be beneficial.

Methodology . A cross-sectional study of FV among 250 mothers attending the General Outpatient Department of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital was undertaken over a 5-month period. Data on the mothers’ sociodemographic characteristics, and experience of FV and its psychosocial correlates and effects were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire and a 20-item Self- Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) as instruments.

Data analysis . EPI Info version 6 was used to analyse the data.

Results. Sixty-nine mothers (28%) had experienced FV at the hands of their husbands. Of these women, 49 (71%) indicated occurrences within the preceding 2 years; in 17 (25%), the violence was severe enough to warrant a hospital visit or treatment. Mothers who experienced FV were significantly more likely to have had previous experiences of violence by an in-law; to have reported child cruelty by a husband; to have children with difficult behaviour; and to have reported that they were neglected by their husbands and not enjoying their marriages. They were also significantly more likely to have a high score on the SRQ and be identified as probable cases with psychological problems (SRQ score ≥ 5).

Conclusion. In view of these findings, screening for FV in the primary care setting would be beneficial. Primary care physicians should therefore increase their interest, improve their skill, and carry out more research in the identification and management of FV.

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Submitted: 15 September 2008
Published: 01 August 2008

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)