Purpose Intimate partner violence (IPV) poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of men, women, and children. Perpetrators often cite situational characteristics, such as financial stress, as a risk for IPV events, but little research has examined situational factors. The purpose of this analysis is to explore the association between financial stressors and perpetration of physical IPV.
Methods Drawn from Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, participants (age range: 24–34) answered six questions on financial stress (e.g., food insecurity; eviction) in the prior year. Participants were categorised as perpetrating physical IPV if they reported hitting, kicking, and/or slapping their partner within the prior year and perpetrating physical IPV causing injury if their partner was injured during the abuse. Weighted, clustered logistic regression was used to determine the association between financial stressors and perpetration of IPV. Covariate selection for adjusted analysis were informed by directed acyclic graphs.
Results Approximately 6% of young adults reported perpetrating physical IPV in the past year. Each type of financial stress was significantly associated with increased odds of perpetrating physical IPV (cOR: 1.73–5.53). For each additional financial stressor, the odds of perpetrating physical IPV increased by 33.9% (p < 0.0001). The significantly increased odds persisted after adjusting for gender, race, employment, and alcohol and drug use. Results were similar for physical IPV causing injury.
Conclusions Individuals with recent financial stressors are at an increased risk for perpetrating physical IPV and physical IPV resulting in injury. Intervention efforts for IPV perpetrators, which have not been highly effective, may benefit from addressing financial stressors.
Significance and contributions Since IPV has significant consequences and current interventions efforts have had limited success, it is crucial to identify modifiable risk factors. Financial stressors are one potential modifiable factor that may be incorporated into intervention efforts.