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Disorganization Theory, Neighborhood Social Capital, and Ethnic Inequalities in Intimate Partner Violence between Arab and Jewish Women Citizens of Israel.

J Urban Health; 94(5): 648-665, 2017 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28875409
We draw on social disorganization (SD) theory and social capital to examine the impact of neighborhood environment on the ethnic gap in intimate partner violence (IPV) between Arab and Jewish women in Israel. We linked census data on neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) to national data we gathered in 2014-2015 on 1401 women (436 Arab, 965 Jewish) age 16-48. Women were interviewed while visiting 65 maternal and child health clinics throughout Israel. We used General Estimated Equation (GEE) multivariate logistic regression models to adjust for clinic cluster effects and estimated the contribution of neighborhood collective efficacy, problems, relative socioeconomic status (SES), bridging and linking social capital, and social support to explaining ethnic inequalities in IPV, while adjusting for women's socioeconomic and socio-demographic characteristics. We found that any IPV is higher among Arab compared to Jewish women (odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 4.19 (2.72,6.42)). Collective efficacy and social group membership (bridging social capital) had no effect on the ethnic inequality in any IPV and types of IPV. Women's active participation in social groups (linking social capital), higher social support, and living in neighborhoods with relative SES similar to the ethnic group average) had a protective effect from any IPV and physical IPV. Neighborhood problems were associated with increased any IPV and physical IPV. In the final model, the ethnic gap in IPV was reduced but not eliminated (OR (95%CI) = 3.28 (2.01, 5.35). Collective efficacy did not explain the ethnic gap in IPV, while women's active participation (linking social capital) had a protective effect from IPV. Given the protective nature of women's activism in this population, future research should investigate how this might be incorporated into solutions to IPV. In addition, reducing neighborhood problems, improving neighborhood SES, and increasing social support might help reduce IPV among Arab women, thus decreasing the ethnic gap in IPV.