The Experiences of Persistent Pain Among Women With a History of Intimate Partner Violence: A Systematic Review

Publication Name

Trauma, Violence, and Abuse


Women experience persistent pain at higher rates than men; however, women are less likely to be provided with adequate or appropriate care and more likely to have their pain experiences dismissed. The purpose of this review is to consider the complex interaction of the biopsychosocial factors in the experience of persistent pain in order to inform improved models of care. Given persistent pain is among the most frequently reported health consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV), this review focused on studies exploring the association between persistent pain and IPV. Three reviewers independently and systematically searched seven databases. Qualitative and quantitative studies describing the association between IPV and persistent pain published between January 2000 and June 2018 were included. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria. The included studies demonstrated that a history of IPV places an additional burden on women who experience persistent pain that cannot be explained by an underlying psychological condition. Health care practitioners should be aware of this phenomena to ensure diagnosis, assessment, and treatment plans are targeted accordingly. Future policy directives and research should account for and seek to elucidate this additional burden.

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National Health and Medical Research Council



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