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J Interpers Violence. 2012 Feb;27(3):411-30. doi: 10.1177/0886260511421669. Epub 2011 Oct 10.

Understanding economic abuse in the lives of survivors.

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Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) often includes economic abuse as one tactic commonly used by an abuser; unfortunately, there is a lack of empirical understanding of economic abuse. Additionally, research is limited on the predictors of economic self-sufficiency in the lives of women experiencing IPV. This paper furthers our knowledge about economic abuse and its relationship with economic self-sufficiency by presenting the results from an exploratory study with IPV survivors participating in a financial literacy program. Of the 120 individuals who participated in the first wave, 94% experienced some form of economic abuse, which also correlated highly with other forms of IPV. Seventy-nine percent experienced some form of economic control, 79% experienced economic exploitative behaviors, and 78% experienced employment sabotage. MANOVA results also indicated that economic control differed significantly based on education with those with a high school education experiencing higher rates than those with less than high school education or those with some college. Finally, results from the OLS regressions indicated that experiencing any form of economic abuse as well as economic control significantly predicted a decrease in economic self sufficiency. Implications suggest that advocates should assess for economic abuse when working with survivors and should be prepared to offer financial tools to increase survivors' economic self-sufficiency. Policymakers should understand the ramifications of economic abuse and create policies that support survivors and prohibit economic abuse. Finally, more research is needed to fully understand economic abuse and its impact on survivors and their economic self-sufficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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