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Religious Affiliation, Denominational Homogamy, and Intimate Partner Violence Among U.S. Couples

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health issue. Few studies, however, have examined the role of religion in IPV perpetration and victimization. This study analyzed the contribution of religious factors to IPV risk and prevalence among a sample of 1,440 married couples interviewed for the 1995 National Study of Couples. Results indicate that rates of IPV did not significantly differ by couple homogamy/heterogamy or type of denominational affiliation. Attendance at religious services at least weekly was associated with lower rates of IPV perpetration among men and with lower rates of IPV victimization among men and women. These findings were attenuated in the multivariate logistic regression analyses. Study findings suggest that religion does not have a strong or direct influence on the occurrence of IPV; alcohol-related problems, however, may be a mediating factor. Despite the null findings, religious institutions can play an important role in primary and secondary IPV prevention.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Berkeley, CA 2: The University of Texas School of Public Health, Dallas, TX 3: Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, OH

Publication date: March 1, 2002


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