Perceptions of Infidelity and Intimate Partner Violence among Couples from Rural Malawi

Amy A. Conroy, University of Colorado at Denver

Extramarital sexual partnerships have been reported as a common reason for intimate partner violence (IPV) in sub-Saharan Africa. The present study expands upon mostly individual-level research to study the dyadic context around infidelity and two types of IPV (sexual and physical IPV victimization) in rural Malawi. Using a sample of 466 young, mostly married couples, I explore whether an individual’s perception that their partner is having sex with someone else influences both partners’ risk for IPV. The Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) provides the primary analytic strategy to include respondent and partner data in the same regression models. I find that both partner’s perceptions of each other increases a respondent’s risk for sexual IPV. However, the results show that for physical IPV, only the respondent’s perception of their partner matters. The findings add to the understanding that IPV is a dyadic level process and may be best understood using couples data.

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Presented in Session 32: Intimate Partner Violence