Partner Relationships and Injection Sharing Practices among Rural Appalachian Women

Michele Staton, Justin C. Strickland, Martha Tillson, Carl Leukefeld, J. Matthew Webster, Carrie B. Oser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background The role of relationships in initiating and maintaining women's risk behaviors has been established. However, understanding factors that may underlie partner relationships and women's risky drug use, particularly in rural contexts, is limited. This study is the first to examine the association between injecting partners and women's risky injection practices as a function of relationship power perception. Methods Female participants were recruited from three rural jails in the Appalachian region. Women were selected randomly, provided informed consent, and screened for study eligibility criteria. This cross-sectional analysis focuses on women who inject drugs during the year before entering jail (n = 199). Main Findings Approximately three-quarters (76%) reported having a recent main male sexual partner with a history of injection drug use. Although having a risky partner independently increased the likelihood of women reporting shared injection practices, perceptions of relationship power significantly moderated the effect on shared needle (adjusted odds ratio, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.003–0.23; p =.001) and shared works (adjusted odds ratio, 0.17; 95% CI, 0.03–0.95; p =.04) use. Conclusions This interaction indicated that, for women who inject drugs with a recent injecting male partner, greater perception of relationship power was associated with a decreased likelihood of shared injection practices. Implications for clinical assessment and intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-659
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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