Dissertation Abstracts

A Comparative Study of Intimate Partner Violence in Post-Soviet Countries: Evidence from National Surveys

Author: Elena Chernyak, chernyake@hartwick.edu
Department: Sociology, Criminology and Anthropology
University: University of Windsor, Canada
Supervisor: Amy Fitzgerald
Year of completion: 2016
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Intimate partner violence , Former Soviet Union , Demographic and Health Survey , theory
Areas of Research: Family Research , Women in Society , Theory


Violence against women (VAW) is a pressing global problem that violates women’s rights and negatively affects their health and well-being. While VAW in the global context encompasses a variety of acts, the most common form is violence against females perpetrated by their male intimate partners or IPV. Investigating IPV in different societies and analyzing micro and macro-level factors (i.e., social, economic, psychological, etc.) that contribute to IPV is important for social scientists in order to understand the nature of IPV. This dissertation examines physical IPV against women in five countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU): Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Ukraine, using survey data generated through the Demographic and Health surveys. Although a number of studies on IPV have been conducted in developing countries around the world, research in other geographic regions cannot simply be extrapolated to the FSU countries due to their unique geopolitical, cultural, social, and economic characteristics. Drawing on socialist feminist and resource theories, I explored IPV in the FSU societies through a comprehensive set of hypotheses predicated on the assumption that the roots of violence against women are based in the unequal power relations between men and women and the normative use of violence in society. The present study found that experiential and empowerment characteristics are significant predictors of IPV. Specifically, alcohol consumption by partners, witnessing IPV in childhood by women, and partner's controlling behaviour increases the likelihood of IPV. At the same time, the research found some inconsistencies among the FSU countries. For instance, earning discrepancies between partners increases the likelihood of IPV in Moldova but decreases it in the Kyrgyz Republic. The findings from this study indicate that patriarchal ideology and traditional gender norms in the FSU societies have strong effects on violence against women. This study makes an important contribution to understanding the extent and correlates of IPV in the FSU. In brief, this study uses improved measures of IPV, is more comprehensive in coverage than previous studies, and illustrates the complexity of the relationships between IPV and economic and social status of women, their experiences, and empowerment.

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