Social Change, Community Context, Wives and Husbands’ Experiences and Domestic Violence against Wives

Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan
William G. Axinn, University of Michigan

Using the measures and analytical approaches specifically designed to study the impact of macro-level social change on individual-level family behaviors this paper investigates the influence of community context on domestic violence among the women in Chitwan Valley, Nepal – a predominantly patriarchal society that is in the midst of dramatic social change. Though previous research on domestic violence has emphasized the role of prevailing patriarchal ideology, the recent dramatic changes in the South Asian societies are likely to have important influences on domestic violence in the opposite direction. The results show that wives’ childhood community context, both wives’ and husbands’ adulthood community context, and couples’ non-family experiences each tend to reduce domestic violence. Husbands’ positive attitudes towards mother-in-law obedience, on the other hand, are associated with a higher likelihood of domestic violence. These associations point toward social psychological mechanisms linking macro-level social change to the individual-level of domestic violence.

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Presented in Session 32: Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse