This study explores the association between financial stress, personal stress, social support and violence against women.
Method: The study used data from the General Social Survey, a large nationally representative sample survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2006. Logistic regression models were used to examine the association between financial stress, personal stress, social support and violence against women.
Results: The risk of actual or threatened violence was significantly higher for women who lack social support or who in the last 12 months have experienced financial stress or personal stressors such as divorce or separation, death of a family member/close friend, serious illness, serious accident, mental illness, serious disability, inability to get a job, involuntary loss of job and gambling problems. The risk of actual or threatened violence for a woman at the lowest levels of financial and social stress was 4 per cent. At the upper end of the financial stress distribution (but the lowest end of the personal stress distribution), that risk jumped to nearly 15 per cent. At the upper end of the financial and personal stress distributions, the risk of actual or threatened violence was 36 per cent. These effects held up after controlling for age, being a sole parent, having alcohol and/or drug problems, level of social support and level of personal autonomy.
Conclusion: Financial stress, personal stress and lack of social support are strong independent correlates of violence against women. Further research is necessary, however, to determine whether these factors are causes or consequences of violence against women.