Married women's experience of domestic violence in Malawi: new evidence from a cluster and multinomial logistic regression analysis

Lana Chikhungu*, Mark Lyons-Amos, Ngianga Ii Kandala, Sasee Pallikadavath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Background - Violence against women is a global issue with estimates indicating that 35% of all women world-wide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner violence in their life time. In Malawi 42% of ever-married women have experienced some form of violence perpetrated by their current or most recent spouse. A number of studies have investigated intimate partner violence in Malawi within the context of HIV/AIDS, girls’ sexual abuse, psychological distress and a few report on the role of socio-cultural factors in influencing gender based violence. No study has used cluster analysis to systematically analyse different levels of abuse amongst married women in Malawi.

- Using the 2015 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey data, we employed cluster analysis and multinomial logistic regression to analyse the distribution of different levels of abuse amongst married women in Malawi and the key attributes associated with each level of abuse.

Results - Correlates of domestic violence significantly differ by levels of abuse and are distributed as follows; controlling behaviour (11.8%), general controlling behaviour (27.1%), moderate physical and emotional abuse (27.2%) and the high and complete abuse (8.5%). Alcohol consumption, ethnicity and women working status were significantly associated with all four levels of abuse but age and religion were only associated with controlling behaviour and generalised controlling behaviour. The strength of association between husband’s alcohol consumption, woman’s working status and marriage type and domestic violence increased by level of abuse. On each of these factors, the odds of experiencing violence were lowest in the controlling behaviour group and highest in the high physical and emotional abuse group.

Policy Recommendations - Policies and programmes that are designed to tackle violence against married women in Malawi should incorporate strategies that discourage excessive drinking, promote messages that women can be bread winners and discourage polygamous marriage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication62nd ISI World Statistics Congress Proceeding
Subtitle of host publicationContributed Paper Session
PublisherInternational Statistical Institute
ISBN (Print)9789672000723
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Event62nd ISI World Statistics Congress - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 18 Aug 201923 Aug 2019


Conference62nd ISI World Statistics Congress
CityKuala Lumpur


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