193153 Methods for Assessing Attitudes toward Initmate Partner Violence in Rural Bangladesh

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sidney Ruth Schuler, PhD , Empowerment of Women Research Program, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Kathryn Yount, PhD , Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Elisabeth Ann Rottach, MA , Global Health Population & Nutrition, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
A. Elisabeth Sommerfelt, MD , Global Health, Population and Nutrition Group, Academy for Educational Developement, Washington, DC
This paper presents preliminary qualitative findings from a project to develop better methodological tools to understand women's and men's individual attitudes about intimate partner violence (IPV) in rural Bangladesh and their perceptions of norms about IPV in their communities. In-depth cognitive interviews with men and women and in-depth open-ended interviews with women are used to explore subjective understandings of standard survey questions that are meant to elicit individual attitudes about IPV. Among the questions the paper addresses are:

• How do responses vary depending on the degree of structure in the interview format?

• What in the wording of the questions, or in the interview context, leads women/men to exaggerate or understate their justification of IPV?

• To what extent are women/men ambivalent about whether IPV is justified? If yes, what is the nature and source of this ambivalence?

• In what ways do men and women use language differently in speaking about the moral or social meanings of IPV?

A prior study suggested that, when asked in a structured survey format, women were inclined to overstate the extent to which they condoned husbands' violence against their wives; when asked in the context of a group discussion they were more likely to condemn it. Our interpretation was that in responding to a structured survey women sometimes conflated their perceptions of social norms with their own attitudes. The findings from the current study should enable us to disentangle the two and to recommend strategies for improving structured survey questions to better elicit nuanced differences such as these.

Learning Objectives:
Describe weaknesses of commonly used survey questions used to elicit men’s and women’s acceptance of husbands’ violence against their wives. Identify strategies for improving the validity of responses to commonly used survey questions used to elicit the degree of acceptance of husbands’ violence against their wives.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a pediatrician with more than 25 years international health experience; this has included working with colleagues from Africa and Asia on topics related to maternal, newborn and child health, malaria, and domestic violence (including as coauthor of a publication on gender-based violence in sub-Sahran Africa). I have no conflict of interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.