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The Context of Birth Country Gender Inequality on Mental Health Outcomes of Intimate Partner Violence

Sun, August 13, 2:30 to 4:10pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Level 5, 516A

Abstract

Extant research indicates that women from more gender equitable countries enjoy higher levels of mental health than women from less equitable backgrounds. However, research also indicates that when women are confronted with unfair gendered interactions, they experience poor mental health outcomes. Whether women’s country of origin can shape mental health outcomes following experiences of intimate partner violence is, therefore, quite a perplexing puzzle. Does gender inequality in the country of origin affect the association between intimate partner violence and mental health outcomes among immigrant women? Do personal and social resources impact this relationship? This study addresses these questions in an innovative approach in four distinct ways: first, it includes measures previously unused in IPV literature, including the country of origin Gender Inequality Index, as well as anger and perceptions of mastery over the environment; second, it applies a multilevel approach to address women’s experiences as situated within social contexts; third, it analyzes social and personal resources as well as country of origin in relation to outcomes following experiences of IPV; and finally, it uses primary data from a sample of Toronto women, nearly half of whom are immigrants. Drawing on the stress process model and nested ecological framework theory, this study implements multilevel model techniques on the Neighborhood Effects on Health and Well-being Study. Findings indicate higher levels of gender equality correlate with higher rates of poor mental health following experiences of IPV, and that this relationship is mediated and buffered by mastery and social support.

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