George Mason University
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George Mason University

Children Are More Likely to Miss School When Their Mothers Experience High Physical Violence and Injuries from Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

February 10, 2020   /   by Michelle Thompson

Study links patterns in mothers’ IPV experience to children’s school attendance in Mexico City.

A new study published in Maternal and Child Health Journal led by Anna M. Scolese, Master of Public Health student at George Mason University, found that 23.3% of women who experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) reported their child’s school attendance was disrupted due to IPV.  The study used baseline data from a sub-sample of 659 women in Mexico City who recently experienced IPV and reported having a child under age 18. Researchers used latent class analysis (LCA) to identify four distinct classes of IPV experiences: Low Physical and Sexual Violence; Low Physical and High Sexual Violence class, High Physical and Low Sexual Violence and Injuries; and High Physical and Sexual Violence and Injuries.

The study, titled “Intimate Partner Violence Against Low-Income Women in Mexico City and Associations with Child School Attendance: A Latent Class Analysis Using Cross-sectional Data” found that women in both the High Physical and Sexual Violence and Injuries class and the High Physical and Low Sexual Violence and Injuries class were at greater risk of IPV disrupting children’s school attendance than the women in the Low Physical and Sexual Violence class.

 “Our analysis (LCA) allows us to identify patterns of IPV experience, such as those who experience more physical violence and injuries, and determine how these different patterns of IPV affect disruptions in school attendance,” says Scolese. “Our results show that children of women who experience High Physical Violence and Injuries – with or without Sexual Violence- are at greater risk of school disruption. In short, if a mother experiences high physical violence and injuries from intimate partner violence, this is more likely to affect a child’s school attendance.” 

IPV is a global issue that impacts 1 in 3 women according the World Health Organization and this study aligns with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 4, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education to promote lifelong learning opportunities. These findings show that maternal IPV impacts the health, social, and economic development of children—specifically the school attendance of the child. Much of the research investigating the impacts of IPV on children’s education has focused on the United States, making this study a valuable data source on the impacts on IPV in low- and middle-income countries.

The study leveraged baseline data from a larger randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving women with recent IPV experiences who sought care at 42 community health clinics serving in Mexico City.

“Our findings underscore the need to integrate IPV prevention efforts across different sectors, including the health and education sectors,” says Dr. Jhumka Gupta, Associate Professor in Global and Community Health who is senior author on the study and principal investigator of the Mexico City-based RCT.

Other study authors are from Warrant Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, International Rescue Committee, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico.

Related people: Jhumka Gupta, ScD
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