The rise of intimate partner violence during the Great Recession

Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016
by Mel Policicchio

Financial strain has long been one of the leading causes of family discord, but a recent study suggests that simply living through major economic recessions increases a mother’s chance of suffering from domestic violence.

Researchers from Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley, investigated the impact of economic distress on romantic relationships, demonstrating unexpected side effects of economic downturns.

The study, published in Demography, carefully examined whether personal economic distress and high unemployment rates would increase a mother’s chances of being in a violent or controlling relationship. While mothers across the board experienced a rise in intimate partner violence during the Great Recession of 2007 through 2009, those who experienced personal financial loss were even more likely to be subjected to intimate partner violence. These findings are important for policymakers and practitioners to consider as the economy rises and falls.

Sara McLanahan, William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and director of the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University, co-authored the study with Daniel Schneider from University of California, Berkeley, and Kristen Harknett from University of Pennsylvania.

Read the article.