Correlates of Intimate Partner Violence Among Young Women Engaged in Sex Work in Southern Uganda

Josephine Nabayinda, Rashida Namirembe, Samuel Kizito, Edward Nsubuga, Proscovia Nabunya, Ozge Sensoy Bahar, Natasja Magorokosho, Joshua Kiyingi, Jennifer Nattabi, Yesim Tozan, Larissa Jennings Mayo-Wilson, Abel Mwebembezi, Susan S. Witte, Fred M. Ssewamala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant global public health problem that results in high social and economic costs to individuals and communities. Compared to women in the general population, women engaged in sex work (WESW) are more likely to experience physical, emotional, and sexual IPV. This study examines the correlates of IPV among young WESW with their intimate partners in Southern Uganda. We used baseline data from the Kyaterekera project, a 5 year NIH-funded longitudinal study aimed at reducing HIV risks among 542 WESW in Southern Uganda. To examine the factors associated with IPV, we fitted three separate multi-level Poisson regression models for physical, emotional, and sexual IPV, respectively. Average age was 31.4 years, and 54% of the women reported being victims of at least one form of IPV from their intimate partners. Model one assessed correlates of sexual IPV. Being married women (β =.71, 95% CI [0.24, 1.17]), divorced/separated/widowed (β =.52, [0.02, 1.02]), depressed (β =.04, [0.02, 0.05]), and having any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (β =.58, [0.14, 1.01]) were associated with sexual IPV. Model two assessed correlates of physical IPV. Experience of childhood sexual abuse (β =.12, [0.04, 0.19]) was associated with an increase in physical IPV, and increasing age reduced its occurrence (β = −.02, [−0.04, −0.001]). Finally, model three assessed emotional IPV. Women with higher education (β =.49, [0.14, 0.85]) and symptoms of depression (β =.02, [0.001, 0.04]) had higher risks for emotional IPV. For WESW, IPV presents an additional potential pathway for HIV and STIs acquisition and transmission through a lack of negotiating power for safe sex. Efforts to reduce violence against WESW should be prioritized as a strategy for enhancing the well-being of WESW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10749-10770
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number19-20
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • HIV
  • intimate partner violence
  • sexual risk behaviors
  • Southern Uganda
  • women engaged in sex work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Correlates of Intimate Partner Violence Among Young Women Engaged in Sex Work in Southern Uganda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this