Spousal Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa: Structure, Forms, and Levels

Kerry MacQuarrie, University of Washington
Sunita Kishor, ICF International

This study uses exploratory factor analysis of data from 18 DHS surveys in sub-Saharan Africa to understand the underlying structure of items related to spousal violence in the data and determine if these structures are similar or dissimilar across study countries. In spite of great variation in the prevalence of the various forms of spousal violence, there is remarkable consistency in the structure of spousal violence. Five factors emerge in study countries: (1) suspicion, (2) isolation, (3) emotional violence, (4) physical violence, and (5) sexual violence. These findings uphold the face validity of the categories of emotional, physical, or sexual violence to which experts have previously assigned items. Our analysis provides another important insight: the six items typically categorized as controlling behaviors represent not one, but two separate concepts, both of which are distinct from the categories of emotional, physical, or sexual violence.

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Presented in Session 177: Methodological Innovations in Intimate Partner Violence Research