Online Program

Social disorganization theory and domestic violence in post-Katrina new orleans

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nadine Wu, MSW, MPH, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Ashley-Marie Kolze, MSW, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Background: Domestic violence is recognized as a significant public health problem. Numerous theories have been put forth to explain possible underlying causes and effects of domestic violence. Although extensive research has been conducted on the individual characteristics of offenders, there remains a need for more extensive research regarding social and environmental factors that may contribute to domestic violence. Shaw and McKay's social disorganization theory posit that crime rates increase as a consequence of residential instability and low collective efficacy at the neighborhood level. This study attempts to examine social disorganization theory as it relates to domestic violence in New Orleans. Methods: Data from the 2010 U.S. Census and the New Orleans Police Department was utilized to examine possible relationships between neighborhood-level characteristics and domestic violence. Neighborhood level characteristics such as population change, proportion of housing units and socioeconomic status were examined in relation to DV. Results: A stepwise hierarchical multiple regression identified vacant housing, neighborhood population changes as correlates of domestic violence. there was a robust and positive correlation between neighborhood population change and higher levels of domestic violence (r= .401, p < .001). Additionally, higher percentages of vacant housing units (r = .576, p < .001), greater fluctuations in the number of housing units (r = .226, p = .029) were also associated with DV. Discussion: Addressing social conditions such as residential instability, socioeconomic inequality and lack of affordable housing could potentially enhance a community's social organization and decrease its domestic violence levels.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss impact of residential instability and community stress on domestic violence Discuss how correlates of social disorganization fit into theories of domestic violence perpetration

Keyword(s): Population, Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research interests include examining community level determinants of health and developing interventions drawn from social work and public health research.
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.