Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Using a Model of Economic Solvency to Understand the Connection between Economic Factors and Intimate Partner Violence

Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Using a Model of Economic Solvency to Understand the Connection between Economic Factors and Intimate Partner Violence

Article excerpt

Introduction

Economic issues are often major factors contributing to the beginning and continuation of intimate partner violence. Although intimate partner violence against women can occur in any relationship, women with low income are at higher risk for violence (Vung, Ostergren, & Krantz, 2008; Ali, Asad, Mogren, & Krantz, 2011; Breiding, Chen, & Black, 2014). There are several theories as to why poverty is a risk factor. A widely accepted theory is that it may have to do with the stress of trying to survive without access to resources or the threats to masculine identity that poverty can inflict (Jewkes, 2002).

In addition to being a risk factor for intimate partner violence, poverty may also exacerbate the consequences of violence. For example, limited or no access to health care challenges an abused woman's recovery and wellbeing. She may be prohibited by the abuser from reaching out to a healthcare provider or the abuser may not allow her access to transportation to attend a clinic visit (Goodman, Smyth, Borges, & Singer, 2009). Thus, a woman who is both poor and abused may have a harder time receiving the help she needs to recover from intimate partner violence (Liang, Goodman, Tummala-Narra, & Weintraub, 2005). Furthermore, a woman reporting abuse may also have problems securing and maintaining employment due to the abuser interfering with her employment. This may involve frequent phone calls or appearing at the employment site. Work interference makes it difficult for the woman to decrease her risk of future violence due to poverty (Romero, Chavkin, Wise, & Smith 2003; Staggs & Riger, 2005). Also, a woman who is both poor and abused is at greater risk for mental health problems like depression (Chuang, Cattoi, Camacho, Dyer, & Weisman 2013) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Rodriguez, Heilemann, Fielder, Ang, Nevarez, & Mangione, 2008), further compromising her functioning as well as her ability to leave the violent relationship and exit poverty.

The links between poverty and intimate partner violence are well established in the literature. As poverty increases so does the likelihood of partner violence (Capaldi, Knoble, Shortt, & Kim, 2012). However, less is known about the economic state that a woman must reach to decrease her poverty-based risk of intimate partner violence and negative outcomes. Economic solvency is defined as "a long-term state that occurs when there is societal structure that supports gender equity and external resources are available and can be used by a woman who has necessary human capital, sustainable employment and independence" (Gilroy, Symes, & McFarlane, 2015, p. 102). The Model of Economic Solvency discussed herein, based on the definition, includes four main factors: human capital, social capital, sustainable employment, and independence. Examining the interaction between intimate partner violence and the four factors of the Model of Economic Solvency may enable the design of evidence-based interventions that include the impact of economic solvency on the occurrence and continuation of intimate partner violence. The purpose of this study is to describe and test the Model of Economic Solvency, consisting of four factors, human capital, social capital, sustainable employment, and independence. Empirical data from women who report intimate partner violence is used to test the model.

Literature Review

Four Factors Identified

Work on developing this model began with a concept analysis of economic solvency (Gilroy, Symes, & McFarlane, 2015). Literature about women and economic solvency, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance was reviewed in order to create a research-based definition of economic solvency. The four factors of this Model of Economic Solvency--social capital, human capital, sustainable employment, and independence--were all represented in the literature as important to women's economic solvency. …

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