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Intimate Partner Violence Approval in South Africa: Evidence from the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey

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This study sought to examine the endorsement of wife beating among both males and females in South Africa using data from the 2016 South Africa Demographic and Health Survey.

Subject and Methods

The samples for this study included 8,333 women and 3,541 men in South Africa. Both descriptive (frequencies and percentages) and inferential statistics (logistic regression) analysis were conducted.


Both men (AOR = 2.21; CI = 1.60–3.05) and women (AOR = 1.50; CI = 1.20–1.87) aged 15–24 had higher probabilities of approving wife beating. Men (AOR = 3.43; CI = 1.86–6.29), and women (AOR = 1.80; CI = 1.16–2.77) within the poorest wealth status had a higher likelihood of approving wife beating. Rural men had a higher likelihood of approving wife beating compared to those from the urban areas. Men with no education (AOR = 3.58; CI = 1.61–7.96), primary (AOR = 5.88; CI = 3.24–10.63) and secondary (AOR = 3.20; CI = 1.85–5.54) had a higher likelihood of approving wife beating compare to those with higher/tertiary level of education.


The study draws the attention of policymakers and other stakeholders in South Africa to place more attention and priority on rural men and those with low levels of education when designing and implementing policies and programs to address wife beating. There is also a need for targeted efforts aimed at educating community leaders, heads of households and men about the negative consequences of wife beatings and domestic violence in general.

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We acknowledge Measure DHS for providing us with the data.

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Authors and Affiliations



KSD conceived the study. KSD and AS did the statistical analysis. KSD interpreted the results. KSD, AS, SE, FD and EKMD designed the first draft of the manuscript. KSD, AS, SE, FD and EKMD revised the manuscript for intellectual content and gave consent for the version to be published. All authors read and approved the final manuscript to be submitted to this journal.

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Correspondence to Kwamena Sekyi Dickson.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Dickson, K.S., Seidu, AA., Eliason, S. et al. Intimate Partner Violence Approval in South Africa: Evidence from the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey. Glob Soc Welf 8, 243–250 (2021).

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