International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 679–689 | Cite as

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

  • Nihaya Daoud
  • Patricia O’Campo
  • Marcelo L. Urquia
  • Maureen Heaman
Original Article



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.


Abuse against women Abuse during pregnancy Violence Immigrant women Canada Neighbourhood socioeconomic position Neighbourhood immigrant concentration 



The authors would like to thank the Maternity Experiences Study Group of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System who developed and implemented the MES. No funding was sought or obtained to undertake this study. Nihaya Daoud and Marcelo Uriqua were supported by Postdoctoral Fellowships at St. Michael’s Hospital. Patricia O’Campo was supported by the Baxter and Alma Ricard Chair in Inner City Health. Maureen Heaman is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Chair in Gender and Health.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


  1. Ahmad F, Riaz S, Barata P, Stewart DE (2004) Patriarchal beliefs and perceptions among South Asian immigrant women. Violence Against Women 10(3):262–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alba RD, Logan JR, Stults BJ (2000) The changing neighbourhood context of immigrant metropolis. Soc Forces 79(2):587–621Google Scholar
  3. Be′cares L, Nazroo J, Stafford M (2009) The buffering effects of ethnic density on experienced racism and health. Health Place 15(3):700–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Be′cares L, Nazroo J, Stafford M (2011) The ethnic density effect on alcohol use among ethnic minority people in the UK. J Epidemiol Commun Health 65(1):20–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berkman LA, Kawachi I (2003) Neighborhoods and health. Oxford University Press Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Browning C (2002) The span of collective efficacy: extending social disorganization theory to partner violence. J Marriage Fam 64(4):833–850CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen M, Maclean H (2003) Violence against women. In: Desmeules M, Stewart D, Kazanjian A, Maclean H, Payne J (eds) Women’s Health Surveillance Report: a multidimensional look at the health of canadian women. Canadian Institute for Health Information, Ottawa, pp 45–46Google Scholar
  8. Cunradi C, Mair C, Ponicki W, Remer L (2011) Alcohol outlets, neighborhood characteristics, and intimate partner violence: ecological analysis of a California City. J Urban Health 88(2):191–200Google Scholar
  9. Das Dasgupta S (2000) Charting the course: an overview of domestic violence in the South Asian community in the United States. J Soc Distress Homeless 9(3):173–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diez Roux AV (2002) A glossary for multilevel analysis. J Epidemiol Commun Health 56:588–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dzakpasu S, Kaczorowski J, Chalmers B, Heaman M, Duggan J, Neusy E, For the maternity experiences study group of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System, Public Health Agency of Canada (2008) The Canadian maternity experiences survey: design and methods. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 30(3):207–216PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Feldmeyer B (2009) Immigration and violence: the offsetting effects of immigrant concentration on Latino violence. Soc Sci Res 38(3):717–731PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fox GL, Benson ML (2006) Household and neighborhood contexts of intimate partner violence. Public Health Rep 121(4):419–427PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Frye V, O’Campo P (2011) Neighborhood effects and intimate partner and sexual violence: latest results. J Urban Health Bull New York Acad Med 88(2):187–190Google Scholar
  15. Helpren D, Nazroo J (1999) The ethnic density effect: results from a National Community Survey of England and Wales. Int J Soc Psychiatry 46:31–46Google Scholar
  16. Hicks MH (2006) The prevalence and characteristics of intimate partner violence in a community study of Chinese American Women. J Interpers Violence 21(10):1249–1269PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hosmer D Jr, Lemeshow S (eds) (2000) Applied logistic regression. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Hou F, Wu Z (2009) Racial diversity, minority concentration, and trust in Canadian urban neighborhoods. Soc Sci Res 38:693–716PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hunt MO, Wise LA, Jipguep M-C, Cozier Y, Rosenberg L (2007) Neighborhoods racial composition and perceptions of racial discrimination: evidence from the black women’s health survey. Soc Psychol Q 70:272–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hyman I, Forte T, Du Mont J, Romans S, Cohen MM (2006) The association between length of stay in Canada and intimate partner violence among immigrant women. Am J Public Health 96(4):654–659PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hyman I, Mason R, Guruge S, Berman H, Kanagaratnam P, Manuel L (2011) Perceptions of factors contributing to intimate partner violence among Sri Lankan Tamil immigrant women in Canada. Health Care Women Int 32(9):779–794PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hyndman J (1999) Gender and Canadian immigration policy: a current snapshot. Can Woman Stud 19(2):7–10Google Scholar
  23. Menjivar C, Salcido O (2002) Immigrant women and domestic violence—common experiences in different countries. Gender Soc 16(6):898–920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Midlarsky E, Venkataramani-Kothari A, Plante M (2006) Domestic violence in the Chinese and South Asian immigrant communities. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1087:279–300PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. O’Campo P, Gielen AC, Faden RR, Xue X, Kass N, Wang MC (1995) Violence by male partners against women during the childbearing year: a contextual analysis. Am J Public Health 85(8 Pt 1):1092–1097PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Raj A, Silverman JG (2002) Intimate partner violence against South Asian women in greater Boston. J Am Med Womens Assoc 57(2):111–114PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Ray B, Preston V (2009) Geographies of discrimination: variations in perceived discomfort and discrimination in Canada’s Gateway Cities. J Immigrant Refugee Stud 7(3):228–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reijneveld SA (2010) Ethnic differences in health and use of health care: the questions to be answered. Int J Public Health 55:353–355PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Saltzman LE, Johnson CH, Gilbert BC, Goodwin MM (2003) Physical abuse around the time of pregnancy: an examination of prevalence and risk factors in 16 states. Matern Child Health J 7(1):31–43PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Statistics Canada (1993) Violence against Women Survey Statistics Canada., Accessed June 2011
  31. Statistics Canada (2006a) 2006 Census: immigration in Canada: a portrait of the foreign-born population, 2006 Census: Highlights. In: Statistics Canada., Accessed 28 June 2011
  32. Statistics Canada (2006b) Census Dictionary Catalogue no.92-566-X 2010. Minister of Industry, Ottawa., Accessed 8 June 2011
  33. Statistics Canada (2006c) Level of education from age 25 to 54, by immigration status, Canada, 2006., Accessed 9 August 2011
  34. Statistics Canada (2011) Postal Code Concersion File., Accessed 2 January 2011
  35. Statistics Canada. Public Health Agency of Canada (2006) Microdata User Guide. Maternity Experiences Survey 2006, Ottawa., 2 January 2011
  36. Taillieu T, Brownridge DA (2010) Prevalence, patterns, and risk factors for experiencing intimate partner violence during pregnancy: a review of the literature and directions for future research. Aggression Violent Behav 15(1):14–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tjaden P, Thoennes N (2000) Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women. Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pp 21–23., Accessed Set. 1st 2011
  38. Viruell-Fuentes EA (2007) Beyond acculturation: immigration, discrimination, and health research among Maxican American in the United States. Soc Sci Med 65:1524–1535PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vives-Cases C et al (2010) Identifying sociodemographic differences in intimate partner violence among immigrant and native women in Spain: a cross-sectional study. Prev Med 51(1):85–87PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yick A (2000) Predictors of physical and spousal/intimate violence in Chinese American families. J Fam Violence 12:249–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nihaya Daoud
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patricia O’Campo
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marcelo L. Urquia
    • 2
  • Maureen Heaman
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation, Faculty of Health SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Centre for Research on Inner City Health, The Keenan Research Centre in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge InstituteSt. Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Faculty of NursingUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations