Risk and protective factors for IPV in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review

Rakhi Ghosal, Anne-Charlotte Duoard, Shefa Sikder, Nobhojit Roy, Dell Saulnier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) bear a high burden of intimate partner violence (IPV). However, there are no reviews assimilating the factors affecting risk of IPV in LMICs. This systematic review (2010–20) identifies risk and protective factors of IPV in LMICs. We followed the PRISMA guidelines to review 399 studies and included 32 studies. Studies were of ever-partnered women living in an LMIC, aged 15 years and above, who had ever faced IPV from a male partner. Disaggregating factors using the ecological framework, we found that women less than 45 years of age face increased risk of IPV. Secondary and higher education levels of men lower the risk. Both employment and unemployment of women increase the risk. Male partner’s dependence on alcohol or substances increases the risk. Prior exposure to abuse of either partner increases risk of IPV. Similarly, justification of wife-beating by any partner increases risk. Intimate relations which are more gender-equal experience lowered risk. Women who have no children, stay in smaller-sized families and reside in rural areas, face lower risks. The review found that risk factors outnumber protective factors. Protective factors are much more context-dependent, while risk factors are more universalizable for the LMIC world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505–522
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec 15
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Free keywords

  • Violence against women
  • Gender-based violence
  • trigger
  • ecological model


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