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Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a major public health problem and is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, little is known about its environmental determinants. This study aimed to investigate whether inadequate living conditions are associated with IPV victimization in women in SSA. We analyzed cross-sectional data for 102,714 women in 25 SSA countries obtained from the Demographic and Health Surveys Program. Logistic regression was used to estimate the country-specific effects of inadequate living conditions (housing with at least one of four characteristics of unimproved water, unimproved sanitation, insufficient space, and unfinished materials) on multiple forms of IPV. Random effects meta-analysis was used to combined the country-specific estimates. We found an association between inadequate living conditions and a higher likelihood of experiencing any (OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.23, p = 0.012), sexual (OR = 1.18, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.34, p = 0.008), emotional (OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.23, p = 0.023), and physical (OR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.28, p = 0.010) IPV. The associations were stronger for rural and less-educated women. These findings suggest that future research to establish a causal link between living conditions and IPV and to elucidate the underlying pathways is crucial to design IPV interventions in SSA.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health



Publication Date





10138 - 10138