Long-term Exposure to Neighborhood Deprivation and Intimate Partner Violence Among Women: A UK Birth Cohort Study
Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)
BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence perpetrated against women. To our knowledge, the effect of neighborhood disadvantage on intimate partner violence against women has never been investigated prospectively outside the United States. METHODS: We used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children in the United Kingdom, which followed our target sample, 7,219 women, from birth and their mothers (from pregnancy). At age 21, 2,128 participants self-reported the frequency of experiencing physical, psychological, or sexual intimate partner violence since age 18. Participants' exposure to neighborhood-level deprivation and family-level socioeconomic characteristics (e.g., income) were measured at 10 time points from baseline (gestation) until children were 18 years old. We estimated the effect of cumulative exposure to greater neighborhood-level deprivation on the risk of experiencing intimate partner violence using marginal structural models with stabilized inverse probability weights, accounting for time-varying confounding by socioeconomic indicators and sample attrition. RESULTS: A one-unit increase in cumulative exposure to more severe neighborhood deprivation was associated with a 62% increase in participants' frequency of experiencing intimate partner violence (95% confidence interval 11%, 237%) and 36% increase in their risk of experiencing any intimate partner violence (95% confidence interval 1%, 85%). CONCLUSIONS: In our study, cumulative exposure to greater neighborhood deprivation over the first 18 years of life was associated with women's increased risk of experiencing intimate partner violence in early adulthood. Future studies should test this association across contexts, including underlying mechanisms, and evaluate preventive strategies that target structural disparities.