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Indeterminate Responses to Attitudinal Questions About Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in Rural Bangladesh


  • Kathryn Yount


  • Nafisa Halim
  • Sara Head
  • Sidney Schuler


Using data from 165 participants in a survey experiment in six Bangladeshi villages, we explored the levels and correlates of women’s indeterminate responses to a five-part attitudinal question on intimate partner violence (IPV) against women from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. Over 80 % had indeterminate responses to all five parts of the question. Indeterminate responses included silence or initial non-response (53–58 %), misunderstanding the question (30–37 %), and conditional opinions (7–13 %). The percentages of women who justified IPV were lower when indeterminate responses were permitted (7–12 %) than when they were not (37–57 %). Older women (≥26 years) with less schooling (≤2 grades) whose husbands were older (≥36 years), had less schooling (≤8 grades), and were at least 7 years older than the respondent often had higher odds of giving indeterminate responses. Husbands’ attributes and spousal age gaps were most consistently associated with women’s indeterminate responses. Latent power, or fears of expressing transgressive views, may underlie women’s indeterminate responses to attitudinal questions about IPV against women. Recommendations for further research are discussed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Kathryn Yount & Nafisa Halim & Sara Head & Sidney Schuler, 2012. "Indeterminate Responses to Attitudinal Questions About Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in Rural Bangladesh," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 31(6), pages 797-830, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:31:y:2012:i:6:p:797-830
    DOI: 10.1007/s11113-012-9241-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boyle, Michael H. & Georgiades, Katholiki & Cullen, John & Racine, Yvonne, 2009. "Community influences on intimate partner violence in India: Women's education, attitudes towards mistreatment and standards of living," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 691-697, September.
    2. Gage, Anastasia J., 2005. "Women's experience of intimate partner violence in Haiti," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 343-364, July.
    3. Uthman, Olalekan Abdulrahman & Moradi, Tahereh & Lawoko, Stephen, 2009. "The independent contribution of individual-, neighbourhood-, and country-level socioeconomic position on attitudes towards intimate partner violence against women in sub-Saharan Africa: A multilevel m," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 1801-1809, May.
    4. Schuler, Sidney Ruth & Hashemi, Syed M. & Riley, Ann P. & Akhter, Shireen, 1996. "Credit programs, patriarchy and men's violence against women in rural Bangladesh," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(12), pages 1729-1742, December.
    5. Michael Koenig & Saifuddin Ahmed & Mian Hossain & A. Mozumder, 2003. "Women’s status and domestic violence in rural Bangladesh: Individual- and community-level effects," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(2), pages 269-288, May.
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