Violence through the life cycle A public health problem
Sammanfattning: Background: Violence has probably always been part of the human experience. Its impact can be seen, in various forms, in all parts of the world. In 1996, WHO:s Forty-Ninth World Health Assembly adopted a resolution , declaring violence a major and growing public health problem around the world. Public health work centers around health promotion and disease prevention activities in the population and public health is an expression of the health status of the population taking into account both the level and the distribution of health. Exposure to violence can have many aspects, differing throughout the life course — deprivation of autonomy, financial exploitation, psychological and physical neglect or abuse — but all types share common characteristics: the use of destructive force to control others by depriving them of safety, freedom, health and, in too many instances, life; the epidemic proportions of the problem, particularly among vulnerable groups; a devastating impact on individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, and society.Methods: Three different data sources were used in the four articles, three cross-sectional studies (“Life and Health in Norrland” and “Health on Equal Terms 2004 and 2006”) and one longitudinal (“Level-of-Living Survey”).Results: We present an important picture of the strong association between exposure to violence and ill health through the life cycle. A population-based study showed an increased risk of poorer physical and psychological health among boys and girls aged 0-18, as reported by their mothers exposed to violence. Further, a strong association between those exposed to violence and physical and mental ill health was demonstrated in young adults aged 18-25, also after adjusting for possible confounders, specifically for women. Even in an elder group aged 65-84, representative results showed an extensive negative health outcome panorama caused by fear of crime and exposure to abuse both in elderly men and women. Lastly, in trying to provide additional empirical support for the association between exposure to violence and ill health the prospective study demonstrated that violence exposure in adolescence and young adulthood presented a negative association to severe illness burden in adulthood for women but not men.Conclusion: Exposure to violence among both men and women is an important risk factor for ill health and should receive greater attention in public health work. A strong association between violence and various health outcomes was demonstrated in different time periods through the life cycle.
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