Intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion, and unintended pregnancy in women with disabilities

Jeanne L. Alhusen, Tina Bloom, Jacqueline Anderson, Rosemary B. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Women with disabilities experience higher rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) than the general population. Reproductive coercion, a type of intimate partner violence, is associated with an increased risk of unintended pregnancy (UIP), yet little is known about this relationship among women with disabilities. Objective: This qualitative descriptive study explored perspectives of women with disabilities who had experienced an UIP as a result of reproductive coercion. Method: In-depth, semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with nine women living with diverse disabilities across the United States as part of a larger study examining facilitators and barriers to UIP among women with disabilities. Results: Analysis revealed three broad themes related to the ways in which physical violence and reproductive coercion elevated women's risk of UIP. They included (1) inadequate health care provider or system response, (2) disability-related risks for IPV, and (3) resource needs to optimize safety. Conclusions: This is the first in-depth exploration of ways in which reproductive coercion may lead to an increased risk of UIP among women with disabilities. Health care providers must screen for IPV and reproductive coercion and provide the necessary supports and resources for women with disabilities experiencing unintended pregnancy as a result of violence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100849
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Disability
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Reproductive coercion
  • Unintended pregnancy


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