Intimate partner violence against women and the Nordic paradox: An intersectional and multilevel analysis in the European Union

Projekt: Forskning


Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi
  • Socialpsykologi
  • Genusstudier
  • Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap


Gender inequality, at the individual and the population level, has been considered a main factor explaining rates of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW). In high-income countries, IPVAW is thus expected to decrease as gender equality increases. Contrary to this expectation, however, a 2012 survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA 2014) showed lifetime prevalence rates of IPVAW in the Nordic countries which were among the highest of the 28 EU Member States, even though these countries have been rated as some of the most gender equal in the world. This apparent contradiction, of disproportionately high levels of IPVAW in countries with high levels of gender equality, has been referred to as the Nordic Paradox. The overall purpose of the present research project, which involves researchers in Sweden and Spain, is to further understanding of this paradox.

The first objective of the project is to investigate whether the Nordic paradox reflects existing differences in IPVAW prevalence, or whether these differences are the result of confounding or information bias. That is, do respondents from Nordic countries make different interpretations of survey questions related to IPVAW, as compared to respondents from other EU countries with lower IPVAW prevalence (e.g. Mediterranean countries)?

The second and central objective of the project is to analyze the complex and multilevel-determined nature of IPVAW, in order to better understand the individual risk of IPVAW, as well as within and between country variations, with special focus on the high prevalence of IPVAW in Nordic countries. Rather than only focusing on differences between country averages and the association between contextual factors and IPVAW risk based on country-level aggregated information, we aim to understand the individual risk distributed around country averages, through measures of discriminatory accuracy (DA).

The third objective of the project is to further understanding of the Nordic paradox through qualitative studies. Focus groups and key informant interviews with professionals working with IPVAW are being conducted in Sweden and Spain, with the aim of gathering the professional’ thoughts and experiences related to the Nordic Paradox. In Sweden, semi-structured in-depth interviews with women who have been exposed to IPVAW, and with men who have been violent within an intimate relationship, will also be conducted. The focus of the latter will be the individuals’ experiences of violence and of gender in/equality within the violent relationship/s.
Gällande start-/slutdatum2018/01/102020/12/20