Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Multiracial individuals, or persons from more than one racial group, report high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV); 56.6% of multiracial females report lifetime stalking, physical, or sexual violence by an intimate partner (compared to 37.3% nationally) and 42.3% of multiracial males report lifetime IPV (versus 30.9%). Although emerging research demonstrates an increased prevalence of victimization among multiracial individuals, little is known about the lethality risk and types and severity of abuse this population experiences compared to monoracial, single-race peers. This study examines IPV among multiracial individuals using two secondary datasets. The first dataset sampled IPV survivors from New York City and Los Angeles (NYC/LA; n=1303); 3.5% of the sample identified as multiracial. The second dataset’s sample was recruited from Arizona IPV shelters (AZ; n=373); 15.4% of the sample identified as multiracial or as more than one race. First, bivariate statistics were run to examine the association between race/ethnicity and IPV. For variables significant in the bivariate analysis, linear and logistic regressions were then run to test multivariate associations between race/ethnicity and IPV victimization when controlling for age, education, and employment status. In both samples, multiracial survivors were significantly more likely to report that their partner had blocked their access to medical care for issues related to IPV than monoracial survivors (AZ β=0.53, NYC/LA OR=2.23). In the NYC/LA sample, strangulation (OR=2.63) and multiple strangulation and/or loss of consciousness (OR=2.43) were significantly higher among multiracial survivors when controlling for other characteristics. Further, the average score on the Danger Assessment, an IPV risk assessment developed to predict intimate partner homicide, was significantly higher for multiracial survivors when controlling for other characteristics (β=3.05). While strangulation rates and Danger Assessment scores were not significantly higher among multiracial survivors than monoracial survivors in the AZ sample, higher rates of multiple strangulation/loss of consciousness among multiracial survivors trended towards significance (p=.06). Several other behaviors that have been associated with increased risk of lethality were found to be significantly more frequent among multiracial individuals in the NYC/LA sample, including partner drug (OR=2.83) and alcohol misuse (OR=3.93) and suicidal ideation (OR=2.31), a risk factor for homicide-suicide. In the AZ sample, partner threats to kill the victim were significantly more common among multiracial survivors (OR=3.33). Multiracial survivors also experienced higher rates of injury in the NYC/LA sample (OR=3.25). The higher rates of lethality risk and injury among these survivors, coupled with higher reports of having blocked access to medical care, could increase the risk of severe or lethal injury due to IPV. Social workers should consider screening for strangulation, lethality, and access to medical care among multiracial individuals presenting with victimization histories. Future studies should allow the opportunity for participants to identify as more than one race. Future quantitative studies are needed to examine IPV among multiracial individuals nationally to better understand IPV and lethality risk and help-seeking among this group and to highlight potential avenues of intervention. Future qualitative studies should investigate the mechanisms by which multiracial identities or backgrounds may be manipulated or targeted by abusive partners.