Method: This study utilized cross-sectional survey data from the Zambia Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) 2013-14. The sample included 2,871 married women between the ages of 15-49 who witnessed parental IPV as children. The outcome of interest was type of violence experienced, either physical or sexual. Predictor variables included education attainment, couple education disparity, woman’s decision-making power, occupation, type of residence, household wealth, region, participant age and cultural beliefs about wife beating. Logistic regression was conducted in Stata to analyze the data.
Results: About 44% of participants reported having experienced physical forms of violence and about 21% of participants reported the experience of sexual violence. Of the 2871 women in the study, more than half (58.7%) held the belief that beatings by their partners were justified. Women who held this belief were more likely to experience physical violence (OR = 1.73, p < .001) and sexual violence (OR = 1.75, p < .001) compared to those who did not believe abuse was justified. The logistic model showed that women who completed secondary school had decreased odds of experiencing physical violence (OR = 0.36, p < .01) compared to those who had no education. Additionally, women who had incomplete primary school education had increased odds of experiencing sexual violence (OR = 1.58, p < .05) compared to those who had no education. There were no statistically significant effects of spousal education disparity, age and household wealth on the outcomes.
Conclusions and Implications: Results from this study indicate that increased education can act as a protective factor against abuse, but does not do so uniformly across levels of education or types of abuse. However, believing that wife-beating is justified seems to be a consistent risk factor for physical and sexual IPV. Further investigation is warranted to explore how education affects attitudes about the acceptability of IPV, as well as other interventions that may be useful in changing imbedded ideologies and cultural beliefs about abuse. As both formal and informal education systems may present opportunities to challenge unhealthy beliefs about abuse, social work researchers and practitioners could work to identify and advocate for IPV awareness within schools as well as community-supported programs.