Human Nature

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 184–203 | Cite as

Demographic and Social Predictors of Intimate Partner Violence in Colombia

A Dyadic Power Perspective


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major health and human rights problem globally. However, empirical findings on the predictors of IPV cross-culturally are highly inconsistent, and the theory of IPV is underdeveloped. We propose a new analytical framework based on cooperative game theory in which IPV is a function of the power relations of the dyadic relationship, not simply the actors involved. Using data from the 2005 Colombian Demographic and Health Survey, we test the hypothesis that IPV is predicted by large asymmetries in dyadic power using a hierarchical generalized linear model. Results suggest that education, urban residence, age at sexual debut, whether the woman has other sexual partners, and the age difference between spouses have strong effects on the log-odds of a woman experiencing IPV. Cooperative game theory and social network analysis offer a general approach to the problem of intimate partner interactions which can be applied broadly cross-culturally.


Intimate partner violence Bargaining Social networks 



We would like to thank Rebecca Bliege Bird, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, and three anonymous reviewers for constructive criticism that greatly improved the paper and that we sometimes ignored at our own peril. This work was supported by grant K01HD051494 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to JHJ.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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