Globally, research on intimate partner violence (IPV) is based on women's reported exposure, with little known about the determinants of men's perpetration. Nascent evidence in poorer settings suggests that childhood experiences and local gender norms may synergistically influence men's risks of perpetration, but these risk factors have not been studied together. In historically patriarchal settings like Bangladesh, norms among senior men about equity-inequity in gender relations and violence against women may influence those of lower-status community members, including younger men. Compared to more senior men, younger men are more likely to be establishing patterns of behavior in marriage, and their behaviors, including the perpetration of IPV, may be more amenable to change.
AIMS. Using data from a population- based survey of men in Bangladesh, we will develop and test a novel measurement model for senior men's community-level gender norms. We will use this measure in a multilevel analysis to explore whether living amidst local norms among senior men favoring gender equity and disfavoring violence against women lowers the risk of perpetrating physical IPV among younger men, either directly, and/or by buffering the influence of younger men's exposure to violence in childhood. DATA. The sample includes 961 senior men 35-49 years (y) and 564 ever-married men 18-34 y nested in 50 urban and 65 rural communities who took part in the survey of Men's Attitudes and Practices Regarding Gender and Violence Against Women in Bangladesh. METHODS. We will use 3-level item response theory (IRT) methods to explore and refine the measurement of community- level gender norms among senior men, including an assessment of the measure's dimensionality, reliability, measurement invariance across urban and rural communities, and within-community heterogeneity. We will use multilevel logistic regression to assess (1) the relationship between community gender norms and a younger ever-married man's probability of perpetrating any prior-year physical IPV and (2) whether the association of a younger man's exposure to violence in childhood with his probability of perpetrating recent physical IPV depends on community-level gender norms. Sensitivity analyses will test the robustness of the findings. INNOVATION. Globally, research is lacking on (1) men's perpetration of IPV and (2) the measurement of community-level gender norms among men using advanced methods. Thus, little is known about the associations of community-level gender norms (developed through such measurement models) with younger men's perpetration of IPV, directly and by buffering the potentially adverse influence of childhood exposure to violence. These data offer a rare occasion to explore these understudied relationships. Our novel analytic strategy will advance the fields of study on community gender norms among men and the multilevel determinants of men's IPV perpetration. Our results will inform national policies and community programs to reduce men's perpetration of IPV in Bangladesh, with implications for research and policy in similar settings.

Public Health Relevance

In this project, we will develop and test a novel measurement model for senior men's community-level gender norms in Bangladesh, and we will use this measure to explore whether living in a community in which senior men favor gender equity and disfavor violence against women lowers the risk that a younger man will perpetrate IPV, either directly and/or by buffering the influence of his prior exposure to violence in childhood. Advancing knowledge of these under-explored relationships will critically inform national policies and community-level social mobilization programs aimed at reducing younger men's perpetration of IPV in Bangladesh, with extended implications for research and policy in similar low-resource settings.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Biobehavioral and Behavioral Sciences Subcommittee (CHHD)
Program Officer
Bures, Regina M
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Emory University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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James-Hawkins, Laurie; Cheong, Yuk Fai; Naved, Ruchira T et al. (2018) Gender Norms, Violence in Childhood, and Men's Coercive Control in Marriage: A Multilevel Analysis of Young Men in Bangladesh. Psychol Violence 8:580-595
Yount, Kathryn M; James-Hawkins, Laurie; Cheong, Yuk Fai et al. (2018) Men's Perpetration of Partner Violence in Bangladesh: Community Gender Norms and Violence in Childhood. Psychol Men Masc 19:117-130