Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Public Health. 2013 Jan;103(1):148-55. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300829. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Influence of community social norms on spousal violence: a population-based multilevel study of Nigerian women.

Author information

Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.



We examined whether social norms toward spousal violence in Nigeria, at the state level, are associated with a woman's exposure to physical and sexual violence perpetrated by her husband.


Using data from the 2008 Demographic and Health Survey, we fit four 3-level random intercepts models to examine contextual factors associated with spousal violence while accounting for individual-level predictors.


Of the 18,798 ever-married Nigerian women in our sample, 18.7% reported exposure to spousal sexual or physical violence. The prevalence was geographically patterned by state and ranged from 3% to 50%. Permissive state-level social norms toward spousal violence were positively associated with a woman's report of physical and sexual violence perpetrated by her husband (odds ratio [OR] = 1.80; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.17, 2.77), after adjusting for individual-level characteristics. A number of individual-level variables were significantly associated with victimization, including a woman's accepting beliefs toward spousal violence (OR = 1.11; 95% CI = 1.09, 1.14). Women living in states with Sharia law were less likely to report spousal violence (OR = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.35, 0.95).


Efforts to end violence against women, particularly spousal violence, should consider broader social and contextual determinants of violence including social norms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center