Community-level correlates of intimate partner violence against women globally: a systematic review

Soc Sci Med. 2012 Oct;75(7):1143-55. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.05.027. Epub 2012 Jun 18.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a problem facing women around the world, one that has implications for women's health and well-being. The relationship between communities and the occurrence of IPV is an expanding area of research. Although a large number of community characteristics have been examined in relation to IPV, the research as a whole lacks a coherent theoretical focus or perspective. In this systematic review, we provide a comprehensive synthesis of the evidence regarding the community-level correlates of IPV against women. In our review of peer-reviewed research published between January 1, 1990 and January 31, 2011, we identify key community-level correlates, detect gaps, and offer recommendations for future research. Recognizing a difference in approach between U.S. and non-U.S. based research and an over-reliance on a primarily urban, U.S.-based perspective on communities and IPV, we advocate for a global perspective that better reflects the social and economic fabric of communities around the world. Specifically, future research should focus on the most promising, but currently under-studied, community-level correlates of IPV against women, namely gender inequality, gender norms, and adapted measures of collective efficacy/social cohesion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*