Master of Science
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Johnson, Andrew M.
Introduction: Intimate partner violence (IPV) has increased in Canada due to COVID-19 and associated public health measures. Economic status may be responsible, but this must be validated during COVID-19.
Methods: An online survey was administered to 23 Canadian women to measure their income pre and during COVID-19 and their experiences of IPV in the past 12 months. Factorial ANOVAs and MANOVAs were used to explore the relationship between income and IPV.
Results: Of women responding to both timepoints, 56.5% (n=13) indicated an increase in IPV. Analyses did not suggest that income was significantly related to IPV, apart from the effect of CERB (governmental economic stimulus) when interacting with income change on IPV pre-COVID-19 (p=.03412).
Conclusion: Economic status is insufficient in explaining IPV, but CERB combined with income change provides evidence of the relationship between IPV and economic status. Additional research is required to identify risk and protective factors for IPV in this context.
Summary for Lay Audience
Introduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in reports of intimate partner violence (IPV) in Canada. IPV is a form of gender-based violence that includes any form of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse within the context of coercive control perpetrated by an intimate partner. Public health responses, such as social distancing and lockdowns, have resulted in an economic recession which has led to a loss of income for many women, given their historic and continued marginalization in workforce participation. Previous research suggests that changes in income may be responsible for increased IPV, but this has yet to be validated in the context of COVID-19.
Methods: An online quantitative survey was administered to 23 Canadian women at a single timepoint to measure their income prior to (retrospectively) and during COVID-19 (presently) and their experiences of IPV in the past 12 months. Statistical tests were employed to determine whether different measures of income (household salary, personal monthly income, or receiving the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit) affected IPV of any form (sexual, physical, or psychological).
Results: Of women who responded to IPV measures prior to and during COVID-19, 56.5% (n=13) indicated an increase in abuse experienced. Statistical tests provided insufficient evidence to suggest that there was a relationship between level of IPV experienced COVID-19 and income change; this remained true when household annual income was introduced to the relationship. However, there was a statistically significant effect of income change when permitted to interact with CERB on pre-COVID-19 IPV, providing evidence of the relationship between IPV and economic circumstance.
Conclusion: Overall, these results indicate that income is insufficient in explaining IPV however, economic stimulus may play a role. Future research is required to identify risk and protective factors for increased IPV to inform an effective public health response for the remainder of COVID-19 and aid preparation for the next pandemic. It would be valuable to examine financial stress and abuser income in future work.
Davidson, Cara, "Impacts of COVID-19 Related Changes in Income on Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence at Home" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7882.