Abstract: Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Increased Economic Insecurity during COVID-19 (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Increased Economic Insecurity during COVID-19

Saturday, January 15, 2022
Liberty Ballroom K, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Lisa Fedina, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, MI
Sarah Peitzmeier, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Malorie Ward, Doctoral Student, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Louise Ashwell, MSW, Research Assistant, University of Michigan
Richard Tolman, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Todd I. Herrenkohl, PhD, Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Child and Family, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
The COVID-19 crisis has heightened concerns about vulnerabilities to well-documented costs and consequences of IPV victimization. However, it is unclear whether IPV victimization relates to food and housing insecurity, healthcare, and access to essential services during the COVID-19 crisis. This study investigates the relationship between IPV (assessed both before and during the pandemic) and increased economic insecurity (i.e., food, phone/internet services, healthcare, housing) in a general population sample of women and transgender individuals.

An online, cross-sectional survey was administered to adults ages 18 and older who identified as cisgender women or transgender/non-binary residing in the state of Michigan (N = 1,169). IPV was assessed with 20 dichotomous behavioral items capturing physical, sexual, psychological, or technology-based IPV that occurred at two time points: 1) during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders (since March 2020) and 2) in the three months prior to stay-at-home orders (between December 2019 – February 2020). Participants were asked to indicate how their access to basic needs and resources changed since the start of COVID-19. Participants who reported decreased access to food, decreased access to medical care/prescriptions, and decreased access to phone/internet were conceptualized as having had increased food insecurity, healthcare insecurity, and phone/internet insecurity due to COVID-19. Housing insecurity assessed whether the respondent had any months where they couldn't pay full rent or mortgage. Four economic insecurity variables (i.e., food, phone/internet, healthcare, housing) were used as outcome variables in analyses.

IPV victimization during stay-at-home orders was associated with approximately 3 times the odds of housing insecurity (AOR = 3.06, p<.001) and healthcare insecurity (AOR=2.95, p<.001) than those without victimization during stay-at-home orders, even after adjusting for IPV immediately prior to the pandemic. IPV during stay-at-home orders was not associated with increased phone/internet insecurity, however, participants with IPV prior to stay-at-home orders had nearly 3 times the odds of experiencing increased phone/internet insecurity compared to those without victimization (AOR = 2.97, p<.01). Multiracial, pregnant, and sexual minority women and transgender/non-binary individuals were at elevated risk for certain forms of increased insecurity.

Findings highlight the need for continued COVID-19 legislation that enhances housing and rental support for populations most in need of safe and stable housing, particularly survivors of IPV. Furthermore, reduced access to healthcare limits IPV survivors’ opportunity to access services and resources and can lead to untreated physical injuries, sexual/reproductive health needs, and mental health needs. Expanding accessible and affordable healthcare options during the COVID-19 crisis can not only prevent acute and long-term adverse health outcomes among survivors, but also increase opportunities for healthcare providers to screen for IPV and link individuals experiencing IPV to life-saving housing, legal, counseling, and other services.