Prevalence of sexual abuse and intimate partner violence in adults with spina bifida.



People with disabilities and chronic medical conditions are known to be at higher risk of sexual abuse (SA) and intimate partner violence (IPV). People with spina bifida (SB) are vulnerable, but little is known about the prevalence of abuse in this population.


To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of SA and IPV in adults with SB.


An anonymous international cross-sectional online survey of adults with SB asked about history of SA ("sexual contact that you did not want") and IPV ("hit, slapped, kicked, punched or hurt physically by a partner").


Median age of the 405 participants (61% female) was 35 years. Most self-identified as heterosexual (85%) and were in a romantic relationship (66%). A total of 19% reported a history of SA (78% no SA, 3% preferred not to answer). SA was more frequently reported by women compared to men (27% vs. 5%, p < 0.001) and non-heterosexual adults compared to heterosexuals (41% vs. 15%, p < 0.001). Twelve percent reported a history of IPV (86% no IPV, 2% preferred not to answer). IPV was more frequently reported by women compared to men (14% vs. 9%, p = 0.02), non-heterosexuals compared to heterosexuals (26% vs. 10%, p = 0.002), and adults with a history of sexual activity versus those without (14% vs. 2%, p = 0.01).


People with SB are subjected to SA and IPV. Women and non-heterosexuals are at higher risk of both.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Johnston, Ashley W, Devon J Hensel, Joshua D Roth, John S Wiener, Rosalia Misseri and Konrad M Szymanski (2024). Prevalence of sexual abuse and intimate partner violence in adults with spina bifida. Disability and health journal. p. 101617. 10.1016/j.dhjo.2024.101617 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



John Samuel Wiener

Professor of Urology

As a general pediatric urologist, Dr. Wiener is involved with all aspects of pediatric urology as a clinician and researcher.  His research interests are most focused, however, on the urologic management of neurogenic bladder and spina bifida and the molecular biology involving development of the genitourinary tract and disorders.

Dr. Wiener is the principal investigator at Duke for The National Spina Bifida Patient Registry and Urologic Management of Young Children with Spina Bifida protocol administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  These projects began at Duke in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

Dr. Wiener was previously a project director for the P50 Center for Undiagnosed Pediatric and Urogenital Disorders.

Dr. Wiener has served in national leadership positions in pediatric urology including President of the Society of Fetal Urology, Executive Council of Society for Pediatric Urology, and the Examination Committee of the American Board of Urology.  He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Spina Bifida Association

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