Sex Roles

, Volume 63, Issue 5–6, pp 332–347 | Cite as

Domestic Violence Against Married Women in Egypt

  • Kathryn M. Yount
  • Li Li
Original Article


We estimated the associations of social learning in childhood, marital resources and constraints, and community gender stratification and norms with women’s risk of physical domestic violence in a national sample of 5,272 married Egyptian women. Women who experienced corporal punishment or maltreatment as children had higher odds of such violence. An increase in women’s household-standard-of-living was associated with lower odds of such violence. Wives with unusually less and unusually more schooling than their spouse had higher odds of such violence, and the wives of paternal cousins had lower odds of such violence. Measures of community gender stratification and norms were inconsistently and weakly associated with such violence. Women’s marital resources and constraints accounted for most of their risk of experiencing physical domestic violence.


Cross-cultural Domestic violence Egypt Family Gender Intimate partner violence 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0550387. Comments from anonymous reviewers and assistance from Ms. Teresa Parker in the preparation of this paper are greatly appreciated.


  1. Akers, R. L. (1977). Deviant behavior: A social learning approach (2nd ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  2. Ammar, N. H. (2006). Beyond the shadows: Domestic spousal violence in a “democratizing” Egypt. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 7, 244–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, K. L. (1997). Gender, status, and domestic violence: An integration of feminist and family violence approaches. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 59, 655–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, K. L. (2005). Theorizing gender in intimate partner violence research. Sex Roles, 52, 853–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson, J. F., & Kras, K. (2007). Revisiting Albert Bandura’s social learning theory to better understand and assist victims of intimate personal violence. Women & Criminal Justice, 17, 99–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bailey, W. C., & Peterson, R. D. (1995). Gender inequality and violence against women: The case of murder. In J. Hagan & R. D. Peterson (Eds.), Crime and inequality (pp. 174–205). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Balk, D. L. (1997). Defying gender norms in rural Bangladesh: A social demographic analysis. Population Studies, 51, 153–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  9. Barnhart, H. X., & Williamson, J. M. (1998). Goodness-of-fit tests for GEE modeling with binary responses. Biometrics, 54, 720–729.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Bittles, A. H. (1994). The role and significance of consanguinity as a demographic variable. Population & Development Review, 20, 561–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bloom, S. S., Wypij, D., & Das Gupta, M. (2001). Dimensions of women’s autonomy and the influence on maternal health care utilization in a North Indian city. Demography, 38, 67–68.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Bograd, M. (1988). Feminist perspectives on wife abuse: An introduction. In K. Yllo & M. Bograd (Eds.), Feminist perspectives on wife abuse (pp. 11–26). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Boy, A., & Kulczycki, A. (2008). What we know about intimate partner violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Violence & Victims, 14, 53–70.Google Scholar
  14. Connell, R. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Dillon, S. A. (2000). Healing the sacred Yoni in the land of Isis: Female genital mutilation is banned (again) in Egypt. Houston Journal of International Law, 22, 289–326.Google Scholar
  16. Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. (1979). Violence against wives. New York: Free.Google Scholar
  17. Douki Saida, F. N., Belhadj, A., Bouasker, A., & Ghachem, R. (2003). Violence against women in Arab and Islamic countries. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 6, 165–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dutton, D. G. (1988). The domestic assault of women. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  19. Dyson, T., & Moore, M. (1983). On kinship structure, female autonomy, and demographic behavior in India. Population & Development Review, 9, 35–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. El-Zanaty, F., & Way, A. A. (2001). Egypt demographic and health survey 2000. Calverton: Macro International, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. El-Zanaty, F. & Way, A. A. (2006). Egypt demographic and health survey 2005.Cairo, Egypt: Ministry of Health and Population, National Population Council, El-Zanaty and Associates, and ORC Macro.Google Scholar
  22. El-Zanaty, F. H., Sayed, H. A. A., Zaky, H. H. M., & Way, A. A. (1993). Egypt demographic and health survey 1992. Calverton, MD: National Population Council [Egypt] and Macro International, Inc.Google Scholar
  23. El-Zanaty, F., Hussein, E. M., Shawky, G. A., Way, A. A., & Kishor, S. (1996). Egypt demographic and health survey 1995. Calverton: Macro International, Inc.Google Scholar
  24. Feshbach, S. (1980). Child abuse and the dynamics of human aggression and violence. In G. Gerbner, C. J. Ross, & E. Zigler (Eds.), Child abuse: An agenda for action (pp. 48–60). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Filmer, D., & Pritchett, L. (1999). The effect of household wealth on educational attainment: Evidence from 35 countries. Population & Development Review, 25, 85–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Garcia-Moreno, C., Henrica, A. F. M., Jansen, M. E., Heise, L., & Watts, C. H. (2006). Prevalence of intimate partner violence: Findings from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence. Lancet, 368, 1260–1269.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Gelles, R. J. (1974). The violent home: A study of physical aggression between husbands and wives. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Goode, W. J. (1971). Force and violence in the family. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 33, 624–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Heaton, T. B. (1996). Socioeconomic and familial status of women associated with age at first marriage in three Islamic societies. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 27, 41–58.Google Scholar
  30. Hindin, M. J., Kishor, S., & Ansara, D. L. (2008). Intimate partner violence among couples in 10 DHS countries: Predictors and health outcomes. DHS Analytical Studies No. 18. Calverton: Macro International Inc.Google Scholar
  31. Hoffman, K. L., Demo, D. H., & Edwards, J. N. (1994). Physical wife abuse in a non-western society: An integrated theoretical approach. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 56, 131–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Holden, G. W. (2003). Children exposed to domestic violence and child abuse: Terminology and taxonomy. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 6, 151–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hoodfar, H. (1997). Between marriage and the market: Intimate politics and survival in Cairo. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  34. Hornung, C. A., McCullough, B. C., & Sugimoto, T. (1981). Status relationships in marriage: Risk factors in spouse abuse. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 43, 675–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. ICF Macro. (2010). Surveys with the domestic violence module. Retrieved from
  36. Jejeebhoy, S. J., & Cook, R. J. (1997). State accountability for wife-beating: The Indian challenge. Lancet, 349, S110–S112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jewkes, R., Levin, J., & Penn-Kekana, L. (2002). Risk-factors for domestic violence: Findings from a South African cross-sectional study. Social Science & Medicine, 55, 1603–1617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Johnson, M. P. (2010). Langhinrichsen-Rohling’s confirmation of the feminist analysis of intimate partner violence: Comment on “Controversies involving gender and intimate partner violence in the United States”. Sex Roles, 62, 212–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kalmuss, D. S., & Straus, M. A. (1982). Wife’s marital dependency and wife abuse. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 44, 277–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kishor, S., & Johnson, K. (2004). Profiling domestic violence: A multicountry study. Calverton: ORC Macro.Google Scholar
  41. Koenig, M., Ahmed, S., Hossein, M. B., & Mozumder, A. K. A. (2003). Women’s status and domestic violence in rural Bangladesh: Individual- and community-level effects. Demography, 40, 269–288.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Komter, A. (1989). Hidden power in marriage. Gender and Society, 3, 187–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Krahé, B., Bineck, S., & Moller, I. (2005). Understanding gender and intimate partner violence from an international perspective. Sex Roles, 52, 807–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (2010). Controversies involving gender and intimate partner violence in the United States. Sex Roles, 62, 179–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Liang, K.-Y., & Zeger, S. L. (1986). Longitudinal data analysis using generalized estimating equations. Biometrika, 73, 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. MacMillan, R., & Gartner, R. (1999). When she brings home the bacon: Labor-force participation and the risk of spousal violence against women. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 61, 947–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McKenry, P. C., Julian, T. W., & Gavazzi, S. M. (1995). Toward a biopsychosocial model of domestic violence. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 57, 307–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Moghadam, V. M. (2004). Patriarchy in transition: Women and the changing family in the Middle East. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 35, 137–162.Google Scholar
  49. Nelson, C., & Olesen, V. (1977). Veil of illusion: A critique of the concept of equality in Western Thought. Catalyst, 10, 8–36.Google Scholar
  50. Peek, C. W., Lowe, G. D., & Williams, L. S. (1991). Gender and god’s word: Another look at religious fundamentalism and sexism. Social Forces, 69, 1205–1221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rao, J. N. K., & Scott, A. J. (1981). The analysis of categorical data from complex sample surveys: Chi-squared tests for goodness of fit and independence in two-way tables. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 76, 221–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rao, J. N. K., & Scott, A. J. (1984). On chi-squared tests for multiway contingency tables with cell proportions estimated from survey data. Annals of Statistics, 12, 46–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Refaat, A., Dandash, K. F., el Defrawi, M. H., & Eyada, M. (2001). Female genital mutilation and domestic violence among Egyptian women. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 27, 593–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sayed, H. A. A., Osman, M. I., El-Zanaty, F. H., & Way, A. A. (1989). Egypt demographic and health survey 1988. Columbia, MD: National Population Council [Egypt] and Institute for Resource Development/Macro Systems, Inc.Google Scholar
  55. Schafer, J., Caetano, R., & Cunradi, C. B. (2004). A path model of risk factors for intimate partner violence among couples in the United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 127–142.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Schuler, S. R., Hashemi, S., Riley, A., & Akhter, S. (1996). Credit programs, patriarchy and men’s violence against women in rural Bangladesh. Social Science & Medicine, 43, 1729–1742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schuler, S. R., Hashemi, S., & Badal, S. H. (1998). Men’s violence against women in rural Bangladesh: Undermined or exacerbated by microcredit programmes? Development in Practice, 8, 148–156.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Schwartz, J. P., Hage, S. M., Bush, I., & Burns, L. K. (2006). Unhealthy parenting and potential mediators as contributing factors to future intimate violence: A review of the literature. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 7, 206–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Simons, L. G., Burt, C. H., & Simons, R. L. (2008). A test of explanations for the effect of harsh parenting on the perpetration of dating violence and sexual coercion among college males. Violence and Victims, 23, 66–82.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Smith, M. D. (1990). Sociodemographic risk factors in wife abuse: Results from a survey of Toronto women. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 15, 39–58.Google Scholar
  61. Speizer, E. (2009). Intimate partner violence attitudes and experience among women and men in Uganda. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Epub ahead of print.Google Scholar
  62. Straus, M. A. (1990). The conflict tactics scale and its critics: An evaluation and new data on validity and reliability. In M. A. Straus & R. J. Gelles (Eds.), Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8, 145 families (pp. 49–73). New Brunswick: Transaction Publishing.Google Scholar
  63. Straus, M. A. (2004). Prevalence of violence against dating partners by male and female university students worldwide. Violence Against Women, 10, 790–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Straus, M. A., & Yodanis, C. L. (1996). Corporal punishment in adolescence and physical assaults on spouses in later life: What accounts for the link? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 825–841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. B. (1996). The revised conflict tactics scale (CTS2). Development and preliminary psychometric data. Journal of Family Issues, 17, 283–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Swan, S. C., Gambone, L. J., Caldwell, J. E., Sullivan, T. P., & Snow, D. L. (2008). A review of research on women’s use of violence with male intimate partners. Violence and Victims, 23, 301–314.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Thoits, P. (1992). Identity structures and psychological well being: Gender and marital status comparisons. Social Psychology Quarterly, 55, 236–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Walker, L. (1977/1978). Battered women and learned helplessness. Victimology, 2, 525–534.Google Scholar
  69. Warner, R. L., Lee, G. R., & Lee, J. (1986). Social organization, spousal resources, and marital power: A cross-cultural study. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 48, 121–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Watts, C., & Zimmerman, C. (2002). Violence against women: Global scope and magnitude. Lancet, 359, 1232–1237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Whitfield, C. L., Anda, R. F., Dube, S. R., & Felitti, V. J. (2003). Violent childhood experiences and the risk of intimate partner violence in adults: Assessment in a large health maintenance organization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 166–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Williams, K. R. (1992). Social sources of marital violence and deterrence: Testing an integrated theory of assaults between partners. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 54, 620–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Yodanis, C. L. (2004). Gender inequality, violence against women, and fear: A cross-national test of the feminist theory of violence against women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 655–675.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Yount, K. M. (2002). Like mother, like daughter? Female genital cutting in Minya, Egypt. Journal of Health & Social Behavior, 43, 336–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Yount, K. M. (2004). Symbolic gender politics, religious group identity, and the decline in female genital cutting in Minya, Egypt. Social Forces, 82, 1063–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Yount, K. M. (2005a). Women’s family power and gender preference in Minya, Egypt. Journal of Marriage & Family, 67, 410–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Yount, K. M. (2005b). Resources, family organization, and domestic violence against married women in Minya, Egypt. Journal of Marriage & Family, 67, 579–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Yount, K. M. (2009). Women’s “justification” of domestic violence in Egypt. Journal of Marriage & Family, 71, 1125–1140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Yount, K. M., & Balk, D. L. (2004). A demographic paradox: Causes and consequences of female genital cutting in Africa. In V. Demos, M. Segal, & J. Kronenfeld (Eds.), Advances in gender research volume 8: Gendered perspectives on reproduction and sexuality. Chapter 7 (pp. 199–249). Amsterdam: JAI, Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
  80. Yount, K. M., & Carrera, J. S. (2006). Domestic violence against married women in Cambodia. Social Forces, 85, 355–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubert Department of Global Health and Department of SociologyEmory UniversityDruid HillsUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsEmory UniversityDruid HillsUSA

Personalised recommendations