Abstract: Domestic Violence Victimization Among South Asian Immigrant Men and Women in the United States (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

86P Domestic Violence Victimization Among South Asian Immigrant Men and Women in the United States

Thursday, January 13, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Abha Rai, PhD, Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
Y. Joon Choi, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Athens, GA
Orion Mowbray, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jennifer Elkins, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Background and Purpose: South Asians are one of the largest immigrant groups in the U.S. Both cultural barriers and structural impediments confronting South Asians in the U.S., disempower them from recognizing and reporting victimization. Prior domestic violence (DV) victimization rates among South Asian immigrants have relied primarily on small, community-based studies. Furthermore, men have been excluded from samples examining DV among South Asians in the U.S. The purpose of this study was to examine DV prevalence rates and its correlates, making comparisons between South Asian men and women in the U.S. using a national sample.

Methods: We collected data nationally including a sample of N = 468, 1st and 1.5+ generation South Asian male and female immigrants. An online survey was utilized for data collection. The dependent variable was measured utilizing the modified version of the Indirect Experiences with Domestic Violence Subscale-Revised. The scale was culturally adapted to include additional questions on economic, immigration, emotional, and in-laws violence. The Cronbach’s alpha of all scales was higher than 0.80 in our study. Overall, we examined physical, emotional, economic, verbal, immigration, in-laws and sexual violence. The independent variables in the study were acculturation, gender-role attitudes and socio-demographic factors such as, age, education, household income, family type, religiosity, generational position, employment and ethnicity. DV prevalence rates were calculated by examining the frequencies of victimization experience for each type of DV for men and women, separately. Multiple logistic regression modeling was used to examine the correlates of DV victimization.

Results: The most prevalent form of lifetime DV victimization for the overall sample was physical violence (48%), followed by emotional (38%), economic (35%), verbal (27%), immigration-related (26%), in-laws related (19%) and sexual violence (11%). Economic (29% in men versus 42% in women), in-laws related (19% in men versus 21% in women) and immigration-related (25% in men versus 29% in women) violence stood out the most as research around these forms of abuse has been absent among South Asians. Furthermore, these prevalence rates were not significantly different across men and women. The multivariate model showed higher education [OR=2.758, p<0.01]; 1.5+generation status [OR=1.743, p<0.05] and joint family households [OR = 2.322, p < 0.01] were significantly related to DV victimization. Gender-role attitudes and acculturation were not significant.

Conclusion: This is the first study to investigate DV victimization rates among both South Asian men and women in the U.S. nationally. This study contributes to facilitating a paradigm shift in DV research by moving away from limiting DV research solely to women and utilizing larger national samples. Furthermore, this study highlights the prevalence rates of diverse forms of DV experiences in South Asian immigrant communities, emphasizing the need for practitioners to incorporate these varied forms of violence in any interventions or screening tools they use with this population. Finally, due to the prevalence of immigration-related abuse among sample participants, results may underscore the need to re-evaluate structural factors that may promote DV, including the lack of independent visa options for immigrant spouses.