Abstract: Intimate Partner Violence Among Asian College Students in the U.S.: Understanding of Gender Differences Using the Social-Ecological Framework (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Intimate Partner Violence Among Asian College Students in the U.S.: Understanding of Gender Differences Using the Social-Ecological Framework

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Alhambra, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Y. Joon Choi, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Athens, GA
Yabin Tang, MA, Doctoral Student, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jeremy Sonne, BA, MSW Student, University of Georgia, GA
Background and Purpose: Young adults between the ages of 18-24 are at the highest risk of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization and perpetration. Currently, there is no study of IPV experience among Asian college in the U.S., underscoring the importance of understanding factors shaping IPV among this population. While individual factors have been widely explored, much less is known whether community contexts, such as exposure to and experience of community violence and community cohesion during childhood contribute to IPV during young adulthood and whether this relationship differs for males and females. The current study aimed to examine 1) the prevalence of IPV victimization and perpetration and their consequences among Asian students, 2) the factors of IPV victimization and perpetration among Asian students, applying the social-ecological model, and 3) potential gender differences on 1) and 2).

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was collected from seven universities. The current study only included Asian students (N=619) who have had any intimate partner relationship in their lifetime longer than a month. The dependent variables were IPV victimization and perpetration. Independent variables included individual (age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, depression, and receipt of IPV training), relationship (child maltreatment, exposure to parental IPV, peer violence), and community (community violence victimization and exposure, and community cohesion) factors. We conducted descriptive statistics for IPV victimization and perpetration and bivariate statistics to understand gender differences in IPV victimization and perpetration and consequences of IPV victimization. Three-step hierarchical logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify correlates of IPV victimization and perpetration for the total sample, as well as male and female students, separately.

Results: Fifty-one percent of Asian students were ever victimized, and 39.3% of Asian students perpetrated IPV. Significantly more female students experienced sexual (23.6% vs. 6.3%), verbal (13.1% vs. 3.2%), and online abuse (16.8% vs. 6.4%) than male students. Significantly more male students perpetrated sexual abuse (11.5% vs. 4.5%) than female students; however, significantly more female students perpetrated physical violence (16.7% vs. 8.4%). Significantly more female students experienced physical injury (13.5% vs. 2.1%) and feeling afraid during the IPV incident (67% vs. 23.7%) than male students. For the total sample and female students, age, depression, exposure to parental IPV, and social cohesion were significantly related to IPV victimization, while none of the variables was related to IPV victimization for male students. For the total sample, age, depression, and exposure to parental IPV were significantly related to IPV, but none of the variables were significant for both female and male students, separately.

Conclusions: The findings illustrate that community cohesion during childhood matters as a protective factor for later IPV victimization beyond individual and relationship characteristics. Community-level strategies for community capacity building (e.g., improving community cohesion) may be an effective way to prevent IPV, especially for females. Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach, developing gender-specific approaches to IPV prevention and intervention on college campuses would be necessary. Also, a more integrative approach to IPV prevention that incorporates mental health treatment needs to be developed for IPV prevention to be effective.