Men's experiences of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and abuse in health care: A cross-sectional study of a Swedish random male population sample

Katarina Swahnberg, Johanna Davidsson Simmons, Jeff Hearn, Barbro Wijma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: This article addresses the under-researched area of men’s experiences of abuse. The aims were to estimate prevalence of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and abuse in health care in a random sample of Swedish adult men, to compare these estimates with previously collected prevalence rates in a male clinical sample to see if prevalence rates were dependant on response rate and sampling method. We also wanted to contribute to a more general analysis of men’s experiences of victimisation. Methods: Cross-sectional study design. The NorVold Abuse Questionnaire that measures the prevalence of four kinds of abuse was sent to 6000 men selected at random from the population of Östergötland, Sweden. Results: The response rate was 50% (n = 2924). Lifetime experiences of emotional abuse were reported by 16.7%, physical abuse by 48.9%, sexual abuse by 4.5%, and abuse in health care by 7.3%. The proportion of men who currently suffered from abusive experiences was highest for emotional abuse and abuse in health care. No difference in prevalence was seen between the random population sample and the clinical sample despite significant differences regarding response rate and background characteristics. Conclusions: Abuse against men is prevalent and men are victimised as patients in health care. Response rate and sampling method did not influence prevalence rates of abuse. Men’s victimisation from emotional abuse and abuse in health care was associated with low income and being born outside of the Nordic countries and hence needs to be analysed in the intersections of gender, class, and ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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