, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 679-689
Date: 16 May 2012

Neighbourhood context and abuse among immigrant and non-immigrant women in Canada: findings from the Maternity Experiences Survey

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To examine the relationship between neighbourhood deprivation and concentration of immigrants, and abuse among immigrant women versus non-immigrant women.


Using data from the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey (un-weighted sample N = 5,679 and weighted sample N = 68,719) linked to the neighbourhoods Census data, we performed contextual analysis to compare abuse prevalence among: immigrants ≤5 years, immigrants >5 years and Canadian-born. We identified two level effect modifiers: living in high (≤15 % of households at or below low-income cut-off- [LICO]) versus low-income (>15 % below LICO) neighbourhoods and living in high (≥25 %) versus low immigrant (<25 %) neighbourhoods. Individual socioeconomic position (SEP), family variables and neighbourhood SEP or percentage of immigrants were considered in different logistic regression models.


Immigrant women were less likely to experience abuse even upon adjustment for individual SEP, family variables and neighbourhood characteristics. The protective effect of the neighborhood was stronger among immigrant women living in low-income and high immigrant neighborhoods, irrespective of length of stay in Canada.


Policies and interventions to reduce abuse among immigrant women need to consider neighbourhood’s SEP and concentration of immigrants.