Cohabitation and Marital Status: Their Relationship with Economic Resources and Intimate Partner Violence

By Marcia Shobe, Kameri Christy, Ashley Givens, Leah Hamilton, Shikkiah Jordan and Yvette Murphy-Erby.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Household economic decisions have historically been viewed through a patriarchal lens; however, using empowerment theory, the effects and implications of economic resources in the lives of low-income individuals are being reexamined and reconstructed. No longer is it sufficient to view economic resources or intimate partner violence (IPV) from a one-dimensional perspective; a holistic, multi-dimensional approach examining the complexities of economic resources and IPV must be viewed from the inequities that arise from social, economic and cultural power imbalances. Research studies have traditionally examined the relationship between household income and only the physical abuse component of IPV. In more recent research, after controlling for income, household financial assets are also found to be associated with various measures of personal well-being. Yet little information is available regarding the correlation between income, financial assets and intimate partner violence. Given the importance of a variety of variables on a woman’s decision to leave an abusive relationship, it is important to examine these relationships. Data from a bi-state longitudinal study of 904 low-income individuals were used to assess the relationship between household assets and IPV outcomes. Findings indicate that personal income, assets in the form of savings, marital status, household composition, and housing status are significantly related to differential reports of IPV. Implications for this research are discussed.

Keywords: Intimate Partner Violence, Financial Assets, Household Composition, Housing Status

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.203-220. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 820.542KB).

Dr. Marcia Shobe

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Dr. Marcia A. Shobe, Ph.D. ACSW, is an Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas, School of Social Work. Her research focuses on health disparities, savings behaviors and asset development for low-income women and families. Over the past several years Dr. Shobe has collaborated with colleagues to conduct multi-site and multi-state research that examine the effects of Individual Development Account (IDA) savings programs on health and well-being for African American, Latino, and non-Hispanic white IDA savers, and the savings experiences and behaviors of female African-American IDA members. Dr. Shobe has also collaborated on interdisciplinary studies related to the health behaviors and health literacy of low-income Latino immigrants.

Dr. Kameri Christy

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Dr. Christy-McMullin, an Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas, teaches such courses as Social Welfare Policy, and Culturally Competent Social Work Practice. Her areas of specialty include violence against women, economic development, and racial and ethnic disparities in wealth accumulation. Her research activities include the examination of asset retention, and the effects of asset development on the personal, social, and economic well-being of low- and moderate-income women, people of color, and families. From 1998-2001, she was involved in the implementation and evaluation of one of the 13 IDA programs selected to participate in the American Dream Demonstration (ADD) national policy pilot project. She currently is the Co-Principal Investigator on a 10-year research project, funded by the Ford Foundation, examining outcomes of participation in an Individual Development Account (IDA) program. Additionally, she has numerous articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at national and international conferences.

Ashley Givens

Research Associate, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Ms. Ashley Givens is a Research Associate with the University of Arkansas School of Social Work. Ms. Givens has a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has worked with this research team for the past three years.

Leah Hamilton

Research & Teaching Assistant, Public Policy Program, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Ms. Leah Hamilton, PhD Candidate, MSW, is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Arkansas, Public Policy Program. During the past two years, Ms. Hamilton has served as both a Research Assistant and a Teaching Assistant within the School of Social Work. She has taught or co-taught Social Welfare Policy, Social Work Research Methods, and Human Diversity in Social Work. Her areas of expertise include child welfare, with a special emphasis on foster care and independent living, and social and economic justice for women and children. Ms. Hamilton plans to defend her dissertation in May 2011.

Shikkiah Jordan

Research Associate, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Ms. Jordan received her B.A. in Social Work from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 2004 and her M.S.W. from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 2005. She joined the School of Social Work as a part-time research assistant in 2006 as a project manager for the “Comparative Study of Outcomes for IDA participants in AR and NM”, funded by the Ford Foundation. Continuing her focus of anti-poverty strategies, in 2009, she became a full-time research associate with the School of Social Work. She has four years post-MSW practice experience working in the domestic violence field. She served as Deputy Director of a domestic violence shelter and has four years experience in management, supervision, program development, grant writing, policy initiatives and clinical social work practice. For two years she served as a consultant for the collaboration between the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Office of Justice Programs. She currently teaches Social Welfare Policy (4153).

Dr. Yvette Murphy-Erby

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Dr. Yvette Murphy, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and has been involved for the past four years with the University of Arkansas IDA research team. The team received a grant from the Ford Foundation to conduct a longitudinal evaluation of IDA programs in Arkansas and New Mexico. In the past year the team has also been awarded funds from the state of Indiana to conduct a longitudinal study of EDA programs in Indiana. The team has produced three publications in peer reviewed journals, has several articles in progress, and has engaged in convenings focused on asset development and closing the racial wealth gap. Dr. Murphy is involved with other research projects including a five-year federal study on teen abstinence. With a commitment to social justice, Dr. Murphy’s research agenda is focused on the empowerment of marginalized populations and the evaluation of programs that serve marginalized populations.


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