Individual and societal risk factors of attitudes justifying intimate partner violence against women: A multilevel cross-sectional study

Celia Serrano-Montilla*, Luis M. Lozano, Michael Bender, Jose Luis Padilla

*Corresponding author for this work

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Attitudes justifying intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) can play an essential role in explaining the prevalence of such public health problem. The study aim was to explain attitudes justifying IPVAW identifying individual and societal risk factors.

Design and setting
A multilevel cross-sectional study of the World Values Survey (WVS) in 54 global countries.

A representative transnational community-based sample of 81 516 participants (47.8% male, 52.1% female), aged mean of 42.41.

Attitudes justifying IPVAW, sociodemographic, sexism, self-transcendence and conservation values were measured using questions from WVS. Country and regional gender inequality were assessed by Gender Inequality Index.

Around 16% (intraclass correlation=0.16) of individual differences in attitudes justifying IPVAW are explained by countries. Statistically significant predictors at individual and country level were: sex (B=−0.24, 95% CI −0.27 to −0.22), age (B=−0.08 to −0.25, 95% CI −0.34 to −0.03), marital status (B=0.09 to 0.23, 95% CI 0.002 to 0.33), educational level (B=−0.10 to −0.14, 95% CI −0.20 to −0.04), self-transcendence values (B=−0.10, 95% CI −0.20 to −0.12), sexism (B=0.21, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.28), country (B=2.18, 95% CI 1.09 to 3.26) and regional (B=2.23, 95% CI 1.04 to 3.42) gender inequality. Country gender inequality (B=−0.18, p=0.12) and regional gender inequality (B=−0.21, p=0.10) did not moderate the associations between self-transcendence values and attitudes justifying IPVAW. In the same way for sexism, data did not provide support for a moderating role of country gender inequality (B=0.22, p=0.26) and regional gender inequality (B=0.10, p=0.66).

Individual and country predictors accounted for differences in attitudes justifying IPVAW. However, neither gender inequality of country nor gender inequality of region interacted with sexism and self-transcendence values. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere037993
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • SIZE
  • public health
  • research methods
  • social medicine
  • statistics &amp


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