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Bangladesh study examines links between violence in childhood, gender-equitable community norms, and rates of intimate partner violence

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An analysis of married men in Bangladesh found that men who were exposed to violence in childhood were more likely to commit intimate partner violence (IPV) in adulthood—regardless of how well their communities regarded women.

The research was led by Kathryn M. Yount, PhD, Asa Griggs Candler Chair of Global Health at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health, and published in the journal, Psychology of Men & Masculinity.

Yount and her team analyzed data collected from 1,508 married Bangladeshi men from two age groups—those ages 18-34 and those ages 35-49—who were polled in the 2011 UN Multi-Country Study of Men and Violence. Her team tested whether lifetime instances of IPV perpetration among junior men were higher with exposure to childhood violence and lower in communities with more equitable gender norms among senior men. Yount’s collaborators were Yuk Fai Cheong, PhD, Emory College of Arts and Sciences; Laurie James Hawkins, PhD, University of Essex; and Ruchira T. Naved, PhD, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh.

"A key takeaway was that interventions to prevent men's perpetration of IPV may need to consider efforts to improve how senior men in communities view women and efforts to prevent men's exposure to violence in childhood," says Yount.

This paper is among the first to present an analysis of the joint influences of gender norms in the community and childhood exposure to violence on men's perpetration of IPV.

"The findings suggest that, while social norms interventions may have a positive effect, there are strong determinants of perpetrating IPV at the individual level that more favorable gender norms don't seem to break. Combined strategies that address both gender norms and violence in childhood may be useful," says Yount.

A research grant (1 R03 H3D081438001A1) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute for Child Health and Development supported this research.

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