Individual and Community-Level Determinants of Domestic Violence in Rural Bangladesh
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Although there is growing recognition of the problem of domestic violence in developing countries, relatively little remains known about both its prevalence and associated risk factors. The study employs multi-level models to explore individual- and community-level determinants of violence, using data from a 1993 cross-sectional survey of 10,368 reproductive aged women residing in two rural areas in Bangladesh. Overall, 42 percent of women reported having experienced recent physical violence by the husband or extended family members. The results highlight the importance of both community and individual-level factors -- particularly those related to women's status and autonomy-- in understanding the determinants of domestic violence in this setting. The results also suggest that the effects of specific individual- and community-level factors upon the risk of domestic violence may vary according to where on the continuum of women’s status and gender relations a specific setting is situated. The paper concludes with recommendations for promising avenues of inquiry for future research on the determinants of domestic violence in developing countries.