Prevalence and correlates of physical spousal violence against women in slum and nonslum areas of urban Bangladesh

J Interpers Violence. 2011 Sep;26(13):2592-618. doi: 10.1177/0886260510388282.


This study explores the prevalence and correlates of past-year physical violence against women in slum and nonslum areas of urban Bangladesh. The authors use multivariate logistic regression to analyze data from the 2006 Urban Health Survey, a population-based survey of 9,122 currently married women aged between 15 and 49 who were selected using a multistage cluster sampling design. The prevalence of reported past-year physical spousal violence is 31%. Prevalence of past-year physical spousal violence is higher in slums (35%) than in nonslums (20%). Slapping/arm-twisting and pushing/shaking/ throwing something at the women are the most commonly reported acts of physical abuse. Multivariate analysis shows that the risk of physical spousal abuse is lower among older women, women with post-primary education, and those belonging to rich households and women whose husbands considered their opinion in decision making. Women are at higher risk of abuse if they had many children, believe that married woman should work if the husband is not making enough money, and approve wife-beating norms. This study serves to confirm the commonness of physical spousal abuse in urban Bangladesh, demonstrating the seriousness of this multifaceted phenomenon as a social and public health issue. The present findings suggest the need for comprehensive prevention and intervention strategies that capitalize on the interplay of individual and sociocultural factors that cause physical spousal violence. Our study adds to a growing literature documenting domestic violence against women in urban areas of developing south Asian nations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Battered Women / psychology
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Social Values
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult