Men's controlling behaviors and women's experiences of physical violence in Malawi

Mahua Mandal, Michelle J. Hindin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the feminist paradigm, intimate partner violence (IPV) among heterosexual couples is gender asymmetric and largely a tactic of male control. However, research on the relationship between men's controlling behavior and physical violence against women is limited. This study examines whether having a controlling partner is associated with women's reports of experiencing physical violence in Malawi. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted using data from 8,385 women who completed the domestic violence module of the Malawi 2004 Demographic and Health Survey. About 18 % of women reported they had experienced moderately severe physical violence and 1 % experienced very severe violence in the past 12 months. A third of women reported their partners had ever been controlling. Results from multivariable ordinal logistic regression showed that women who had controlling partners were significantly more likely to report experiencing physical violence. Other factors significantly associated with women's experience of physical violence included women who reported initiating physical violence against their partners, women's work status, partners' lower education level, and partners' alcohol consumption. Women with controlling partners were at increased risk of experiencing physical violence in the past year. However, women who reported initiating physical violence in the past year were nearly four times more likely to experience partner violence in the same time period. Future research should attempt to elucidate these two important risk factors for IPV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1332-1338
Number of pages7
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • Controlling behavior
  • Gender asymmetric
  • Intimate partner abuse
  • Malawi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Men's controlling behaviors and women's experiences of physical violence in Malawi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this