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Associations between poverty, mental health and substance use, gender power, and intimate partner violence amongst young (18-30) women and men in urban informal settlements in South Africa: A cross-sectional study and structural equation model



Associations between poverty, mental health and substance use, gender power, and intimate partner violence amongst young (18-30) women and men in urban informal settlements in South Africa: A cross-sectional study and structural equation model



Plos one 13(10): E0204956



Research suggests that poverty is a key driver of intimate partner violence (IPV), however detailed analysis suggests that this relationship is not clear, either for women's experience or men's perpetration of IPV. We explored associations between poverty and IPV using cross-sectional data from the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures cluster randomized control trial, in urban informal settlements in Durban, South Africa, with young (18-30) people. Using logistic regression and structural equation modelling we assess associations between poverty and women's experience and men's perpetration of physical and/or sexual IPV in the past 12 months. 680 women and 677 men were recruited into the study between September 2015 and September 2016. The analyses highlight how specific forms or measures of poverty intersecting with gender identities shape IPV. For men we found indicators of economic provision were associated with IPV perpetration, while for women food-insecurity was key to IPV experience. We also found similarities between women and men. First, food-insecurity and childhood traumas shaped pathways to substance misuse and poor mental health that increased IPV. Second, there was a resilience pathway in both models, whereby those with more education had increased gender equitable attitudes and fewer controlling behaviours, which reduced IPV. Interventions to reduce IPV need to work to reduce household food insecurity, but these need to be combined with gender transformative interventions. Interventions should also focus on reducing the impact of mental health and substance misuse. Finally, working to increase educational attainment is a long-term critical intervention to reduce IPV. NCT03022370. Registered 13 January 2017, retrospectively registered.

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Accession: 065704889

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PMID: 30281677

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204956


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