Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 83–95 | Cite as

How Do Risk Environment Factors Influence Perpetration of Partner Violence among Male Migrant and Non-migrant Market Workers in Central Asia?

  • Louisa GilbertEmail author
  • Lynn Michalopoulos
  • Xin Ma
  • Tina Jiwatram-Negrón
  • Assel Terlikbayeva
  • Sholpan Primbetova
  • Tara McCrimmon
  • Mingway Chang
  • Timothy Hunt
  • Stacey A. Shaw
  • Gaukhar Mergenova


Intimate partner violence (IPV) has emerged as a serious public health issue in migrant communities in Central Asia and globally. To date, however, research on risk factors associated with male perpetration of IPV among migrants remains scant. This study aims to examine risk environment theory-driven factors associated with male perpetration of IPV in the prior 6 months. We recruited, enrolled, and surveyed a respondent-driven sample of 1342 male market workers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, that included 562 (42%) non-migrants defined as Kazakhstan citizens who reside in Almaty; 502 (37%) external migrants from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, or Uzbekistan; and 278 (21%) internal migrants from other areas of Kazakhstan. We conducted multivariate logistic regressions to estimate the effects of physical, economic, and political risk environment factors on IPV perpetration by migration status after controlling for potentially confounding socio-demographic and psychosocial variables. A total of 170 participants (12.7%) reported ever perpetrating physical or sexual IPV and 6.7% perpetrated such IPV in the prior 6 months. Multiple logistic regression results suggest that the risk environment factors of poor living conditions, exposure to political violence, and deportation experiences are associated with IPV perpetration among external and internal migrants, but not among non-migrants. Food insecurity is associated with IPV perpetration among external migrants and non-migrants, but not among internal migrants. Homelessness and arrests by police are associated with IPV perpetration among internal migrants, but not among external migrants or non-migrants. These findings underscore the need to consider the unique combination of risk environment factors that contribute to male IPV perpetration in the design of programs and policies to address IPV perpetration among external and internal migrant and non-migrant men in Central Asia


Migration Risk environment Intimate partner violence Political violence Central Asia 



We deeply appreciate all the market workers who took time out of their long working hours to complete this survey.

Authors’ Contributions

LG guided overall conceptual design for the study and preparation of the manuscript.

LM, TJ and SS, TH and TM contributed to the preparation of the manuscript.

AT and SP contributed to the conceptual design and oversaw data collection in the field. XM and MC conducted statistical analyses. GM contributed to the conceptual design, the preparation of the manuscript and oversaw data collection in the field. All authors read and approved this manuscript.


This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH R01 MH082684 awarded to Dr. Nabila El-Bassel. The funder was not involved in study design or analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

This trial was approved by Columbia University’s IRB, and by the ethics committee of the Kazakhstan School of Public Health (KSPH).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was conducted with all study participants before taking part in screening for study eligibility, and again with all eligible participants before they completed the initial assessments.


  1. 1.
    Palermo T, Bleck J, Peterman A. Tip of the iceberg: reporting and gender-based violence in developing countries. Am J Epidemiol. 2014;179(6):602–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Camlin CS, Hosegood V, Newell ML, McGrath N, Bärnighausen T, Snow RC. Gender, migration and HIV in rural Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. PLoS One. 2010;5(7).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gilbert L, Shaw S, Terlikbayeva A, McCrimmon T, Zhussupov B, Ismayilova L. Intimate partner violence and HIV risks among migrant women in Central Asia. J AIDS Clin Res. 2015;6(428):e1000428.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gupta J, Acevedo-Garcia D, Hemenway D, Decker MR, Raj A, Silverman JG. Premigration exposure to political violence and perpetration of intimate partner violence among migrant men in Boston. Am J Public Health. 2009;99(3):462–9.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Midlarsky E, Venkataramani-Kothari A, Plante M. Domestic violence in the Chinese and South Asian immigrant communities. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006;1087:279–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Parrado EA, Flippen CA, McQuiston C. Migration and relationship power among Mexican women. Demography. 2005;42(2):347–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Raj A, Silverman JG. Immigrant South Asian women at greater risk for injury from intimate partner violence. Am J Public Health. 2003;93(3):435–7.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rhodes T. The ‘Risk Environment’ : a framework for understanding and reducing drug-related harm. Int J Drug Policy. 2002;13:85–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    IOM. World migration report, 2015. Geneva: International Organization for Migration (IOM; 2015.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sadovskaya E. Kazakhstan in Central Asia migration subsystem. Demoscope.; 2010.
  11. 11.
    DiBartolomeo AD, Weinar A. Regional migration report in Russia and Central Asia. EU/RSCAS Migration Center; 2014.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Strathdee SA, Hallett TB, Bobrova N, Rhodes T, Booth R, Abdool R, et al. HIV and risk environment for injecting drug users: the past, present, and future. Lancet. 2010;376(9737):268–84.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rhodes T. Risk environments and drug harms: a social science for harm reduction approach. Int J Drug Policy. 2009;20:193–201.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lorvick J, Lutnick A, Wenger LD, Bourgois P, Cheng H, Kral AH. Non-partner violence against women who use drugs in San Francisco. Violence Against Women. 2014;11:1285–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hirsch JS. Labor migration, externalities, and ethics: theorizing the meso-level determinants of HIV vulnerability. Soc Sci Med. 2014;100:38–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stith SM, Smith DB, Penn CE, Ward DB, Tritt D. Intimate partner physical abuse perpetration and victimization risk factors: a meta-analytic review. Aggress Violent Behav. 2004;10(1):65–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Miller LE, Cater ÅK, Howell KH, Graham-Bermann SA. Perpetration patterns and environmental contexts of IPV in Sweden: relationships with adult mental health. Child Abuse Negl. 2014;38(1):147–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Moore TM, Stuart GL, Meehan JC, Rhatigan DL, Hellmuth JC, Keen SM. Drug abuse and aggression between intimate partners: a meta-analytic review. Clin Psychol Rev. 2008;28(2):247–74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fulu E, Jewkes RK, Roseli T, Garcia-Moreno C. Prevalence of and factors associated with male perpetration of intimate partner violence: findings from the UN multi-country cross-sectional study on men and violence in Asia and the Pacific. Lancet. 2013;1:e187–207.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pavao J, Alvarez J, Baumrind N, Induni M, Kimerling R. Intimate partner violence and housing instability. Am J Prev Med. 2007;32(2):143–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    El-Bassel N, Gilbert L, Shaw SA, et al. The silk road health project: how mobility and migration status inflence HIV risks among male migrant workers in Central Asia. PLoS One. 2016;3.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Weine SM, Kashuba AB. Labor migration and HIV risk: a systematic review of the literature. AIDS Behav. 2012;16(6):1605–21.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Raj A, Santana C, La Marche A, Amaro H. Perpetration of intimate partner violence associated with sexual risk behaviors among young adult men. Am J Public Health. 2006;96(10):1873–8.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Weine S, Bahromov M, Loue S, Owens L. Trauma exposure, PTSD, and HIV sexual risk behaviors among labor migrants from Tajikistan. AIDS Behav. 2012;16(6):1659–69.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lawrence AE, Taft CT. Shame, post-traumatic stress disorder, and intimate partner violenc. Aggress Violent Behav. 2013;18(2):191–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Crane CA, Hawes SW, Devine S, Easton CJ. Axis 1 psychopathology and the perpetration of IPV. J Clin Psychol. 2014;70(3):238–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Straus MA, Hamby SL, Boney-McCoy S, Sugarman DB. The Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2): development & preliminary psychometric data. J Fam Issues. 1996;17:283–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Committee on Statistics. Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan; 2014.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Goodman LA, Corcoran C, Turner K, Yuan N, Green BL. Assessing traumatic event exposure: general issues and preliminary findings for the Stressful Life Events Screening Questionnaire. J Trauma Stress. 1998;11(3):521–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bohn MJ, Babor TF, Kranzler HR. The alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT): validation of a screening instrument for use in medical settings. J Stud Alcohol. 1995;56(4):423–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Derogatis L, Savitz K. The SCL-90-R, Brief Symptom Inventory, and matching clinical rating scales. In: Maruish ME, editor. The use of psychological testing for treatment planning outcomes assessment. 2nd ed. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1999.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Boulet J, Boss MW. Reliability and validity of the Brief Symptom Inventory. Psychol Assess. 1991;3(3):433–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Vaglio J, Conard M, Poston WS, O’Keefe J, Haddock CK, House J, et al. Testing the performance of the ENRICHD Social Support Instrument in cardiac patients. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2004;2(1):24.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Somach S, Rubin D. Gender Assessment USAID/Central Asian Republics. Kazakhstan: USAID; 2010.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2018
corrected publication October/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louisa Gilbert
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lynn Michalopoulos
    • 2
  • Xin Ma
    • 3
  • Tina Jiwatram-Negrón
    • 4
  • Assel Terlikbayeva
    • 1
  • Sholpan Primbetova
    • 1
  • Tara McCrimmon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mingway Chang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timothy Hunt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stacey A. Shaw
    • 5
  • Gaukhar Mergenova
    • 1
  1. 1.Global Health Research Center of Central AsiaAlmatyKazakhstan
  2. 2.Columbia University of Social WorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Emory University Rollins School of Public HealthAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.School of Social Work, Arizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  5. 5.Brigham Young University School of Social WorkProvoUSA

Personalised recommendations