The Association of Neighborhood Characteristics and Domestic Violence in Santiago, Chile
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- Kim, H., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Han, Y. et al. J Urban Health (2013) 90: 41. doi:10.1007/s11524-012-9706-6
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The growing tension between conservative attitudes and liberal policies on gender issues in Chile is reflected by the high rates of domestic violence juxtaposed by a strong governmental policy aimed at preventing this social problem. Attempts to understand factors associated with domestic violence in Chile, and in other countries as well, have not paid much attention to neighborhood-level factors. This manuscript examined the extent to which selected neighborhood characteristics were associated with domestic violence against women. Relying on theories of social disorganization and social stress, this study conceptualized residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood as a source of stress and examined the relationship between detrimental physical and social characteristics of neighborhoods and the chance of women experiencing domestic violence. Results revealed that a higher level of trash in neighborhoods was associated with increased rates of domestic violence above and beyond individual characteristics. Findings also suggested that the relationship between high levels of trash in neighborhoods and domestic violence was greater for women with higher levels of financial stress. Given the potential role of neighborhood environments in reducing domestic violence, a comprehensive approach incorporating both neighborhood- and individual-level factors may be critical in designing effective preventive interventions for domestic violence.