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Association between gap in spousal education and domestic violence in India and Bangladesh
Authors: Daniel Rapp, Beate Zoch, M Mobarak H. Khan, Thorsten Pollmann and Alexander Krämer
Source: BMC Public Health, 2012, 12:467 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-467
Topic(s): Domestic violence
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2012
Abstract: Background Domestic violence (DV) against women is a serious human rights abuse and well recognised global public health concern. The occurrence of DV is negatively associated with the educational level of spouses but studies dealing with educational discrepancies of spouses show contradicting results: Women with higher education than their husbands were more likely to ever experience DV as compared to equally educated couples. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there is any association between spousal education gap (SEG) and the prevalence as well as the severity of DV in India and Bangladesh. Methods Nationally representative data collected through the 2005/2006 Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) and 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) were used. In total, we analysed the data of 69,805 women aged 15-49 years old (Bangladesh: 4,195 women, India: 60,060 women). In addition to simple and bivariable analyses, a multinomial logistic regression model was used to quantify the association between the main independent variable (called education gap) and the dependent variable categorised as less severe and severe domestic violence. Several factors were used as cofactors (which revealed significant association with the outcome variable in bivariable analyses). Results For the total sample, women with higher education than their husbands reported significantly lower likelihood of experiencing less severe (OR=0.83, 95% CI: 0.77-0.89) and severe (OR=0.79, 95% CI: 0.72-0.87) DV as compared to spouses equally low-educated (reference group). Equally high-educated couples revealed the lowest likelihood of experiencing DV (severe violence: OR 0.43, CI 0.39-0.48; less severe violence: OR 0.59, CI 0.55-0.63). Conclusions Our analysis revealed no increased DV among women who were educated more than their husbands. Moreover, the results point towards a decrease of severe violence with an increase in education levels among spouses. Still, all considered factors are not capable of explaining a satisfying amount of DV (Nagelkerke's r2=0.152). Therefore, further research should be done to reveal those unknown factors and to be able to develop suitable interventions to reduce DV.