Shakira Suglia and colleagues recently published an article describing the relation between Intimate partner violence (IPV) in adolescence and young adulthood and cardiovascular risk in adulthood. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) over a 30-year time frame was estimated. A Framingham-based prediction model was used to summarize participants’ 30-year risk for CVD using data on age, sex, blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medication, body mass index, and diabetic and smoking status. Small but statistically significant increases in CVD risk among those exposed to IPV victimization and perpetration were noted. A one-standard deviation increase in IPV victimization was associated with a 0.28% (95% CI: 0.03, 0.54) increase in CVD risk. Similarly, IPV perpetration was also associated with CVD risk (0.33% (95% CI: 0.03, 0.62. Interestingly no differences by sex were detected.
Past work on the relation between intimate partner violence and cardiovascular disease has produced mixed findings. In a systematic review of that literature, Suglia noted that most studies examining the role of IPV on cardiovascular health are of cross-sectional nature and are limited by self-reported outcomes. The present study addresses those limitations by utilizing a longitudinal study design and relying on objectively measured risk factors of cardiovascular health. In addition, most previous studies have focused solely on female populations and have only considered IPV victimization and not perpetration. In these analyses, which include both males and females, the increased CVD risk was similar for both men and women. Furthermore the co-occurrence of victimization and perpetration was high (17% among males and 26% among females) warranting the need to explore the joint effect of both victimization and perpetration. In a model jointly exploring these two factors, all violence types were associated with increased CVD risk but only prior experience of both victimization and perpetration reached statistical significance (0.62%, 95% CI: 0.01, 1.22). Given the high prevalence of IPV among adolescents and young adults a greater effort is needed to prevent its occurrence. Efforts to prevent smoking among adolescents are common, preventing other non-traditional risk factors, such as violence, may also aid in the promotion of health and prevention of future cardiovascular disease.