Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 183–193 | Cite as

Domestic Violence, Couple Interaction and Children’s Health in Latin America

  • Tim B. Heaton
  • Renata Forste
Original article


This paper examines the relationships between several measures of couple interaction and children’s health. We hypothesize that more maternal input in decision-making, joint discussion of health issues, and the absence of violence and male control are conducive to better child health. Mortality and nutritional status are used as measures of child health. Analyses are based on Demographic and Health Surveys in five Latin American countries (Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Haiti and Nicaragua). Violence is the best interaction predictor of poor nutrition and lack of female autonomy is the best predictor of higher mortality. Joint discussion of family planning and joint decision-making about household issues are also predictive of child health. Male controlling behavior did not have a strong relationship with health outcomes in most countries. Overall, findings indicate that positive couple interaction is associated with improved health outcomes for children.


Couple interaction Domestic violence Female autonomy Child health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology2033 JFSB, Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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