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How do area-level socioeconomic status and gender norms affect partner violence against women? Evidence from Tanzania


  • Seema Vyas

    () (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College
    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

  • Lori Heise

    (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College)


Abstract Objectives To explore how area-level socioeconomic status and gender-related norms influence partner violence against women in Tanzania. Methods We analysed data from the 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and used multilevel logistic regression to estimate individual and community-level effects on women’s risk of current partner violence. Results Prevalence of current partner violence was 36.1 %; however, variation in prevalence exists across communities. Twenty-nine percent of the variation in the logodds of partner violence is due to community-level influences. When adjusting for individual-level characteristics, this variation falls to 10 % and falls further to 8 % when adjusting for additional community-level factors. Higher levels of women’s acceptance towards wife beating, male unemployment, and years of schooling among men were associated with higher risk of partner violence; however, higher levels of women in paid work were associated with lower risk. Conclusions Area-level poverty and inequitable gender norms were associated with higher risk of partner violence. Empowerment strategies along with addressing social attitudes are likely to achieve reductions in rates of partner violence against women in Tanzania and in other similar low-income country settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Seema Vyas & Lori Heise, 2016. "How do area-level socioeconomic status and gender norms affect partner violence against women? Evidence from Tanzania," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 61(8), pages 971-980, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ijphth:v:61:y:2016:i:8:d:10.1007_s00038-016-0876-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s00038-016-0876-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

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