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Domestic violence and child nutrition in Liberia

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  • Sobkoviak, Rudina M.
  • Yount, Kathryn M.
  • Halim, Nafisa
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    Abstract

    Domestic violence against women is endemic globally and is an important social problem in its own right. A compounding concern is the impact of domestic violence against mothers on the nutritional status of their children. Liberia is an apt setting to examine this understudied topic, given the poor nutritional status of young children, high rate of domestic violence against women, and prolonged period of conflict that included systematic sexual violence against women. We expected that maternal exposure to domestic violence would predict lower anthropometric z-scores and higher odds of stunting, wasting, and underweight in children less than five years. Using data from 2467 mother-child dyads in the 2007 Liberia Demographic and Health Survey (LDHS) undertaken between December 24, 2006 and April 19, 2007, we conducted descriptive and multivariate analyses to examine the total, unadjusted and adjusted associations of maternal exposure to domestic violence with these anthropometric measures in children. Maternal reports of sexual domestic violence in the prior year predicted lower adjusted z-scores for height-for-age and weight-for-height as well as higher odds of stunting and underweight. The findings underscore the needs to (1) enhance and enforce conventional and customary laws to prevent the occurrence of domestic violence; (2) treat maternal survivors of domestic violence and screen their children for nutritional deficits; (3) heighten awareness of the intergenerational implications especially of recent sexual domestic violence; and (4) clarify the biological and behavior pathways by which domestic violence may influence child growth, thereby mitigating early growth failure and its adverse implications into adulthood.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 103-111

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:2:p:103-111

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    Related research

    Keywords: Liberia; Child nutrition; Child anthropometry; Domestic violence; Intimate partner violence; Post-conflict settings;

    References

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    1. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "The impact of public spending on health: does money matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(10), pages 1309-1323, November.
    2. Smith, Lisa C. & Ramakrishnan, Usha & Ndiaye, Aida & Haddad, Lawrence James & Martorell, Reynaldo, 2003. "The importance of women's status for child nutrition in developing countries:," Research reports 131, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Peck, Maria Nyström & Lundberg, Olle, 1995. "Short stature as an effect of economic and social conditions in childhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 733-738, September.
    4. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer & Adam Wagstaff & Magnus Lindelow, 2008. "Analyzing Health Equity Using Household Survey Data : A Guide to Techniques and Their Implementation," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6896, October.
    5. Agadjanian, Victor & Prata, Ndola, 2003. "Civil war and child health: regional and ethnic dimensions of child immunization and malnutrition in Angola," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(12), pages 2515-2527, June.
    6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Jin, Minchao & Iannotti, Lora L., 2014. "Livestock production, animal source food intake, and young child growth: The role of gender for ensuring nutrition impacts," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 16-21.
    2. Djemai, Elodie & Arestoff, Florence, 2013. "Women's empowerment across the life cycle and generations: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12351, Paris Dauphine University.

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