Individual schooling and women's community-level media exposure: a multilevel analysis of normative influences associated with women's justification of wife beating in Bangladesh

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Abstract

Background

Our objective was to examine the multilevel correlates of women's justification of wife beating in Bangladesh, a form of intimate partner violence (IPV). We focus on individual-level schooling, community-level media exposure among women and their interaction.

Methods

A cross-sectional study using data from the 2011 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. Our sample included 17 749 ever-married women 15–49 years in 600 communities. We fit 6 multilevel logistic regression models to examine factors associated with justifying IPV; focusing on a woman's completed grades of schooling; frequent (at least once weekly) community-level media exposure among women via newspaper/magazine, television and radio; and their cross-level interaction.

Results

At the individual level, completing more grades of schooling than the community average was negatively associated with justifying IPV (0.95, 95% CI 0.94 to 0.97). The main effects of women's community-level media exposure were not significant, but suggested that frequent exposure to newspaper/magazine or television was negatively associated with justifying IPV, while exposure to radio was positively associated. In cross-level interactions, a woman's completed grades of schooling above the community average was protective against justifying IPV, even in communities where women's exposure to radio would otherwise increase the odds of justifying IPV.

Conclusions

Different forms of media likely send different messages about gender and IPV. Girls' schooling should remain a priority, given its protective effect against justifying wife beating. Targeting girls and women who do not receive any schooling for intervention may yield the most benefit in terms of normative change regarding IPV against women.

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