Risk and protective factors of intimate partner violence among South Asian immigrant women and perceived need for services

Bushra Sabri, Michelle Simonet, Jacquelyn C. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: Limited research exists on multilevel influences of intimate partner violence (IPV) among immigrant groups in the United States, particularly South Asians. Using a socioecological framework, this study examined risk and protective factors of IPV among a diverse group of South Asian immigrant survivors of IPV and identified their perceived need for services. Method: Sixteen South Asian immigrant survivors were recruited from New York; Maryland; Virginia; and Washington, DC, using a snowball sampling method. Participants were 1st-generation and 2nd-generation immigrants born in India (n = 4), Bangladesh (n = 4), Pakistan (n = 5), the United States (n = 2), and Sri Lanka (n = 1). Data were collected using in-depth interviews (n = 16) and a focus group (n = 1). A thematic analysis procedure was used to analyze the data and to identify themes across different ecological levels. Results: IPV was related to factors at multiple levels, such as cultural normalization of abuse, gender role expectations, need to protect family honor, arranged marriage system, abusive partner characteristics, and women's fear of losing children and being on own. Protective factors included supportive family and friends, religion, safety strategies, education, and empowerment. Women highlighted the need for community education and empowerment efforts and culturally responsive services for addressing IPV in South Asian communities. Conclusions: South Asian survivors of IPV have experienced, and some continue to experience, abuse due to factors operating at multiple levels of the ecological framework. Consideration of culturally specific risk and protective factors for IPV at multiple contexts in women's lives could inform culturally responsive IPV prevention and intervention strategies for South Asian communities in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-452
Number of pages11
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Ecological framework
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Protective factors
  • Risk factors
  • South Asian immigrant women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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