The Marital Implications of Bereavement: Child Death and Intimate Partner Violence in West and Central Africa

Abigail Weitzman , University of Michigan
Emily Smith-Greenaway, University of Southern California

We use nationally representative surveys from 13 West and Central African countries to estimate multilevel discrete-time hazard models that examine how women’s risk of intimate partner violence (IPV)—an indicator of relationship quality—varies with the death of a young child (under age 5). To better understand the nature of the link between child death and IPV, we further assess whether this association varies in magnitude and significance according to the local prevalence of maternal bereavement. Our findings suggest that the risk of IPV initiation rises with the loss of a young child. This increase is offset, however, by residing in a region where child loss is more common. Variation in the effects of child loss across its regional prevalence is not explained by concomitant regional variation in gender inequality, fertility, or infrastructural development. Moreover, supplemental analyses reveal no evidence that IPV increases the risk of child death.

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 Presented in Session 59. Causes of Neonatal, Infant, and Child Mortality