06.05.2012 - 30.10.2015

Violence in various stages of life: frequency, determinants and consequences of health (2012-2015)


Financing Instituitions
Portuguese national funding agency for science research and technology

Participating Institutions
ISPUP • Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto


The present Project wishes to contribute to the knowledge of a serious problem - the Violence phenomenon- that affects the physical and mental health of the Portuguese population, through a biopsychosocial approach to its determinants and consequences. We aim to provide innovative data in a large life-span period of the general population, since the majority of studies in this field, use data from criminal records or from the health services and victim aid services. However, it is known that the prevalence of violence in the emergency services, for example, is different, since this population has inherent characteristics, like acute injuries and physical illness that are not shared with the general population.


Violence is conceptualized as the one happening between individuals in their families and in the community, and can take different shapes (psychological, physical, financial, negligence), different severity and magnitude.In this context we wish to characterize violence in the Portuguese population in several stages of the life cycle. We aim to describe the following types of violence:-  Child abuse and neglect: violence against children, perpetrated by their parents or parental figures;-  Interpersonal violence among adolescents and young adults in the community: bullying, participation in physical fights or being physically, sexually or emotionally abused;-  Intimate partner violence (IPV): the one that happens between actual or former partners involved in an intimate relationship, independently of the place where that violence occurs. -  Elder abuse: violence against the elderly perpetrated by their caregivers.


In order to assess the health effects of the different types of violence in the several stages of the life-span, different samples of the population will be assessed through the most suitable methodologies. We aim to assess child abuse and neglect with reliable measurement instruments, in the familial and scholar contexts. Being a methodological challenge, we will part from a pre-established cohort of children, presently with 4 years old and their mothers (Geração XXI), to whom several physical and mental health data are known. Additionally, information from children in scholar age (1st educational cycle), complementing an assessment that is pretended as holistic for this stage of life.


Interpersonal violence among adolescents and young adults will be assessed in pre-selected schools, in the classroom context, always using instruments identified as the most suitable, by specially trained interviewers for the sensitivity that this population and thematic require.Starting from the European matrix left by DOVE (an EU project aiming to assess prevalence and health consequences of IPV in samples of the general population from 8 countries) and ABUEL project (an EU project assessing prevalence of violence against the elderly and its health consequences in samples of people aged 60-84 from 7 countries), both co-financed by EAHC (Executive Agency for Health and Consumers), we aim to enrich the study of the violence consequences in these populations, adopting a participatory research style: through contact with organizations dealing with victims and perpetrators of violence in a daily basis, we wish to gather information and compare characteristics of subjects identified by these institutions with the assessed general population. Specifically to what concerns socio-demographic data, mental and physical health impact, quality of life, depressive symptoms, direct health care utilization costs, life-styles (associated licit and illicit substance use).


Also, the collection of information with institutionalized elderly (in samples from previously contacted organizations), will allow a comparative and complete approach to the violence phenomena against the elderly.This research project is concerned with the societal and practical impacts of violence in health. Building upon the interdisciplinary competencies of the project team (1 epidemiologist, 1 sociologist, 1 psychologist and 1 public health professional) the study will serve as foundation for a set of integrated insights related to violence.


Finally, it is also an objective of this project, to produce fundamental documents, evidence-based, that can be used by other researchers, policy makers, social technicians and health practitioners, increasing citizens’ safety and fortifying the knowledge and consciousness about this problem.


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