Abstract: Education and Intimate Partner Emotional Violence in Peru (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

230P Education and Intimate Partner Emotional Violence in Peru

Friday, January 18, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Selina Forsyth, MSW, Recent MSW Graduate, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Background and purpose: Emotional violence is a significant world health problem. Long-term outcomes of emotional abuse are quite negative and include physical and mental health disorders. While intimate partner violence is typically associated with physical and sexual violence, emotional violence (also called psychological abuse and emotional abuse in the literature), has equally detrimental consequences to women’s mental and physical health (Karakurt & Silver, 2013). Additionally, there is a high correlation between physical abuse and emotional abuse (Gondolf, Heckert, & Kimmel, 2002).

All types of violence against women, including emotional violence, are particularly prevalent in Peru. While research has determined that educational homogamy (the degree of parity between partners’ education levels) can be protective against intimate partner violence in general, there is little research on whether this predictor applies specifically to emotional violence. This study examined the effects of male and female educational attainment and educational homogamy on the likelihood of emotional violence against currently partnered women in Peru.

Methods: This analysis used data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in Peru in 2012. The DHS conducts nationally representative household surveys in low- and middle- income countries, covering a wide range of population, health, and nutrition indicators. Respondents are women of childbearing age (15-49 years old). 10,663 currently partnered respondents were included in the sample. Emotional violence was measured using the following questions: (1) has the respondent been publicly humiliated by their male partner, (2) has she been threatened with loss of financial support, and (3) has she been threatened with physical harm; these responses were combined into one binary variable. Logistic regression was used to determine the odds ratios of experiencing emotional IPV given various educational and demographic variables, as well as known IPV risk factors.

Results: The study found that in non-married couples, women with more education than their partners are at greater risk for emotional abuse. Other important predictors of emotional abuse included urban setting, male partner’s drinking habits, family history of intimate partner violence, female violence toward her partner, number of children, and (for non-married couples) wealth index.

Conclusions and implications: The study suggests that future research and intervention may need to differentiate between married and cohabitating couples, as different factors affect the likelihood of emotional abuse for married vs. cohabiting couples. These differences may suggest a difference in the dynamics of marital and cohabiting relationships in Peru. Our results also suggest that as opportunities for women’s education continue to increase, intervention may be needed to help couples renegotiate traditional gender roles without abuse.


Gondolf EW, Heckert DA, Kimmel CM (2002). Nonphysical abuse among batterer program participants. Journal of Family Violence, 17:293–314.

Karakurt, G., & Silver, K. E. (2013). Emotional abuse in intimate relationships: the role of gender and age. Violence and Victims, 28(5), 804-821.