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Neighborhood environment and intimate partner violence: a systematic review. Trauma Violence Abuse 2015 Jan;16(1):16-47



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84914128650   86 Citations


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important global public health problem, affecting women across the life span and increasing risk for a number of unfavorable health outcomes. Typically conceptualized as a private form of violence, most research has focused on individual-level risk markers. Recently, more scholarly attention has been paid to the role that the residential neighborhood environment may play in influencing the occurrence of IPV. With research accumulating since the 1990s, increasing prominence of the topic, and no comprehensive literature reviews yet undertaken, it is time to take stock of what is known, what remains unknown, and the methods and concepts investigators have considered. In this article, we undertake a comprehensive, systematic review of the literature to date on the relationship between neighborhood environment and IPV, asking, "what is the status of scholarship related to the association between neighborhood environment and IPV occurrence?" Although the literature is young, it is receiving increasing attention from researchers in sociology, public health, criminology, and other fields. Obvious gaps in the literature include limited consideration of nonurban areas, limited theoretical motivation, and limited consideration of the range of potential contributors to environmental effects on IPV--such as built environmental factors or access to services. In addition, explanations of the pathways by which place influences the occurrence of IPV draw mainly from social disorganization theory that was developed in urban settings in the United States and may need to be adapted, especially to be useful in explaining residential environmental correlates of IPV in rural or non-U.S. settings. A more complete theoretical understanding of the relationship between neighborhood environment and IPV, especially considering differences among urban, semiurban, and rural settings and developed and developing country settings, will be necessary to advance research questions and improve policy and intervention responses to reduce the burden of IPV.

Author List

Beyer K, Wallis AB, Hamberger LK


Kirsten M. Beyer PhD, MPH Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
L Kevin Hamberger PhD Professor in the Family Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Residence Characteristics
Sexual Partners
Social Perception
Social Problems
Socioeconomic Factors
Spouse Abuse
United States
jenkins-FCD Prod-468 69a93cef3257f26b866d455c1d2b2d0f28382f14