Intersections of Gender Equity, Intimate Partner Violence and Relationship Dynamics among Brazilian Youth Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Gomez, Anupama Manchikanti
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • Background: Growing evidence indicates that support for gender inequity is a risk factor for intimate partner violence (IPV) and adverse reproductive health. Gender equity is important for youth, as the relationships men and women experience and observe early in life may influence behavior throughout their lives. However, most research examining gender equity, IPV and reproductive health focuses on female experiences, failing to include males or examine relationships at the couple level. Methods: This dissertation utilizes a mixed methods approach to examine the intersections of gender equity, IPV and relationship dynamics among male and female youth (ages 15-24) in a low-income community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Paper 1, the relationship between individual-level gender equity and IPV in the past six months is investigated among 198 female and 240 male youth with logistic and multinomial logistic regression models. In Paper 2, qualitative data from seven female youth and their male partners are examined to explore how gender inequity influences relationship dynamics around sexual and reproductive health, and conflicts and IPV. Results: In logistic regression models, support for gender equity has a protective effect against any female IPV victimization and any male IPV perpetration. In a multinomial regression model for female IPV, gender equity is protective against victimization and reporting both victimization and perpetration. Qualitative results revealed that gender inequity is a reality of the participants' lives and an underlying factor in unhealthy relationship norms that support male control over sexual encounters and adversarial conflict resolution styles that may elevate the risk of IPV. Support for norms reinforcing gender inequity also present a barrier to effective condom and contraceptive use. Several participants noted that while condom use is normative early in relationships, later suggestions of condom use may raise suspicions of infidelity. Conclusions: These results indicate that targeted interventions promoting gender equity and healthy relationship behaviors among youth may help reduce IPV and improve reproductive health in urban Brazil and other settings. Promoting gender equity among youth has the potential to not only foster better health outcomes but also to enhance their relationships, well-being and human rights throughout the life course.
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  • ... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Maternal and Child Health of the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
  • Speizer, Ilene
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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