Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Concentrated Disadvantage and Intimate Partner Violence

Research documents numerous individual-level risk factors for adolescent dating violence victimization, as well as an association between area concentrated disadvantage (i.e., areas characterized by high poverty, unemployment, and residential turnover) and partner violence among adults. However, little is known about contextual contributors to adolescent dating violence (DV). Although concentrated disadvantage has been linked to the most severe form of intimate partner violence - partner homicide (IPH) - most such studies have been conducted in urban areas, and have examined only female-victim IPH. In this dissertation, I approach partner violence from an ecological perspective and apply social science theories to predict relationships between contextual disadvantage and partner violence outcomes. In my first paper, I assess the relationship between school disadvantage and adolescent dating violence victimization using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n=10,620). In multilevel random effects models controlling for individual and school sociodemographic characteristics, school disadvantage is found to moderate the association between family disadvantage and girls' victimization. However, school disadvantage was unrelated to boys' victimization. In the second paper I explore the ecological relationship between disadvantage and intimate partner homicide rates in North Carolina counties (n=100) using data from the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System, the 2000 Census, and the North Carolina Council for Women's annual survey of NC domestic violence programs. Using Poisson regression models with population offset terms and controlling for percent of the population age 20-40 years, female-to-male sex ratio, and sex ratio squared, I found county disadvantage was positively related to male-victim IPH but not significantly associated with female-victim IPH; neither relationship varied by county rurality. Further, domestic violence service availability and funding variables were not supported as mediators between county disadvantage and male-victim IPH. Results suggest that contextual disadvantage may have direct or moderating effects on partner violence outcomes, depending on the gender of the victim, age of study participants, severity of outcome studied, and level of data utilized. Future studies should examine the relationship between contextual disadvantage and other partner violence outcomes (e.g., severe victimization and various levels of perpetration) as well as mechanisms by which contextual disadvantage affects such outcomes.