Statement of Purpose Rates of family violence, including intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment, play a significant role in the increasing trends in violence in the U.S. and globally and contribute to substantial health and economic costs on our society. Factors that explain the concentration of family violence in particular neighborhoods remain poorly understood. We examine the impact of neighborhood blighted property, a marker of neighborhood disorder, on family violence.
Methods/Approach Data were utilized from a prospective longitudinal cohort study of 360 maternal-child dyads in a southern U.S. city known for elevated rates of violence. Pregnant mothers were recruited at any point during pregnancy. Following parturition, three follow-up visits were conducted for mother-infant dyads when the infant reached 4, 12, and 18 months of age. The association between neighborhood blighted property in the caregiver’s residential census tract and experiences of maternal IPV and child maltreatment were examined in multilevel models.
Results Women living in neighborhoods characterized by high levels of blight were more than twice as likely to report IPV compared to women living in neighborhoods with fewer blighted properties. The likelihood of experiencing physical maltreatment, psychological maltreatment, or neglect at 12-months of age based on the Conflict Tactics Scale was more than twice as high for children living in neighborhoods with a high blighted property rate (OR=2.30, 95% CI=1.12, 4.69) and the likelihood increased by 2% for each unit increase in the rate of blighted property.
Conclusion Reducing neighborhood blighted property may be an important target for interventions focused on reducing family violence.
Significance The current study strengthens our understanding of how neighborhood factors, such as neighborhood disorder, influence family violence.
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