Method: Using data collected from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, 1,410 adult females in committed relationships (33.5% white, 37.8% black, and 28.7% Hispanic) were surveyed. Change in IPV was measured by computing the difference between wave 4 and wave 2 reports of physical and emotional violence. Additionally, change in household economic status was measured by computing the difference between wave 4 and wave 2 reports of variables including employment, economic hardship, education and household income. Categorical variables were recoded to reflect no change, increase or decrease. Mediating variables included in the model were change in depression and change in parenting stress. All scale variables in the model were well-validated. Control variables included age, race/ethnicity, marital status, number of children and nativity.
Results: A multinomial logit analysis suggests that marital status, race, change in economic hardship, and change in depression are each significant predictors of change in IPV. Contrary to the proposed hypothesis, change in household income, employment and education do not serve to significantly predict change in IPV; however, change in economic hardship does significantly predict change in IPV, showing partial support for the proposed hypotheses. Change in economic hardship is significantly associated with a 3% increase in the odds that an individual would experience a decrease in IPV compared to no change in economic hardship with no change in IPV (Nagelkerke pseudo R2 = .04).
Implications: Given the current economic climate of the U.S., the changing nature of economic status is quite salient. The presented results suggest that when mediating variables of depression and parenting stress are accounted for, change in economic hardship levels might prevent an individual from experiencing a decline in IPV over time. If this is the case, practitioners would do well to more fully address economic variables in individual interventions. In so doing, one might find that the propensity for the occurrences of decreases in IPV over time would increase.