Intimate Partner Violence against Women: An Examination of Spousal Abuse and Maternal, Child Health and Economic Outcomes in Ghana
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While research suggests that context, structural socioeconomic and cultural factors matter in intimate partner violence research, quantitative research on the subject in sub-Saharan Africa, and in particular Ghana, has disproportionately focused on prevalence and individual level correlates of spousal violence. This research has ignored the role of the structural socioeconomic and cultural factors and contexts in understanding the causes and consequences of spousal violence in a setting where family life is heavily influenced by traditional norms and beliefs. These norms and beliefs may lead to inadequate and ineffective interventions geared at preventing or reducing spousal violence and its consequences. Guided by an integrated theoretical approach and Macmillan’s sociogenic framework, this study addresses these issues by estimating a series of multilevel logistic regression models where the effects of both individual and community level risk factors of spousal violence and its health and economic consequences are assessed. Data for the study come from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey and the Ghana Population and Housing Census. The findings confirm the salient role of structural socioeconomic and cultural factors, such as patriarchal norms and residential instability, in the perpetration of spousal violence against women. Consistent with the sociogenic framework, this study found support for the view that women’s exposure to spousal victimisation has deleterious effects on their health and economic outcomes and that these adverse effects may be exacerbated by the same risk factors that contribute to women’s abuse. An anticipated buffering effect of social support on spousal victimisation and its consequences was largely unsupported by the findings. Policy implications of the findings and directions for further research are discussed.