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J Interpers Violence. 2013 Jul;28(10):2134-55. doi: 10.1177/0886260512471083. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

Troubled times, troubled relationships: how economic resources, gender beliefs, and neighborhood disadvantage influence intimate partner violence.

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Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #3435, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


We evaluate race/ethnicity and nativity-based disparities in three different types of intimate partner violence (IPV) and examine how economic hardship, maternal economic dependency, maternal gender beliefs, and neighborhood disadvantage influence these disparities. Using nationally representative data from urban mothers of young children who are living with their intimate partners (N = 1,886), we estimate a series of unadjusted and adjusted logit models on mothers' reports of physical assault, emotional abuse, and coercion. When their children were age 3, more than one in five mothers were living with a partner who abused them. The prevalence of any IPV was highest among Hispanic (26%) and foreign-born (35%) mothers. Economic hardship, economic dependency on a romantic partner, and traditional gender beliefs each increased women's risk for exposure to one or more types of IPV, whereas neighborhood conditions were not significantly related to IPV in adjusted models. These factors also explained most of the racial/ethnic and nativity disparities in IPV. Policies and programs that reduce economic hardship among women with young children, promote women's economic independence, and foster gender equity in romantic partnerships can potentially reduce multiple forms of IPV.


battered women; cultural contexts; domestic violence; predicting domestic violence

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