To describe the characteristics of men and women exposed to physical violence, to identify risk factors for violence exposure and to quantify the attributable healthcare costs of violence.
The Danish national health interview surveys of 2000 and 2005 included data on exposure to defined forms of physical violence over the last 12 months. Respondents who reported exposure to violence during the past year were compared with a reference group of non-exposed respondents, and data were merged with the National Health Registers. We identified risk factors for violence by logistic regression models and used OLS regression for quantification of attributable healthcare costs of violence, including somatic and psychiatric admissions, outpatient contacts, prescriptions and primary health services; and analyzed intimate partner violence separately.
Young age, being divorced and drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol per week were risk factors for violence both for men and women. Total annual healthcare costs, adjusted for age and deliveries, were 787 euros higher on average for women exposed to violence than for non-exposed women, mainly related to psychiatric treatment. For women, no significant cost differences existed between victims of partner violence and non-victims. The total healthcare costs were not higher for exposed men than for non-exposed men, but male victims of partner violence incurred significantly higher costs.
Primarily due to costs of psychiatric treatment, male and female victims of violence had higher total healthcare costs than non-exposed people. Whether mental health problems increase the risk of violence exposure or violence is a particular risk factor for health problems cannot be assessed by cross-sectional data alone.