Intimate partner violence and its association with self-determination needs and gender-power constructs among rural South African women

Feziwe Mpondo*, Robert A C Ruiter, Bart van den Borne, Priscilla S Reddy

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study aimed to identify psychosocial correlates of intimate partner violence (IPV) by using constructs derived from the self-determination theory (SDT) and gender-power scales. Cross-sectional data (N = 238) were collected from women in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, and were used to test a structural equation model (SEM). The majority (87%) of the participants reported having sexual partners in the past 3 months, and in terms of IPV victimization, 36% and 26% of women had ever experienced verbal and physical abuse, respectively. Bivariate correlations showed that autonomy and beliefs about gender equality (BGE) were strongly associated with IPV. This finding was also confirmed in the SEM analysis, which indicated that autonomy had a direct effect on IPV suggesting that women who are in relationships that allow them to make decisions along with their partners possibly experience less IPV. In addition BGE, which was hypothesized to play a mediating role showed a significant direct association with IPV, suggesting that women who are aware of their rights may experience less IPV by choosing partners who do not espouse hegemonic masculinities or strong patriarchal beliefs. Our findings suggest that it would be important to incorporate decision-making skills and human rights awareness in future community-based sexual health and reproductive rights interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2975-2995
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • CAPE
  • FIT
  • RISK
  • gender equality beliefs
  • intimate partner violence
  • self-determination
  • young women

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