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Open Access Research article

Collective violence and attitudes of women toward intimate partner violence: Evidence from the Niger Delta

Diddy Antai1* and Justina Antai2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Global Health & Inequalities, The Angels Trust – Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria

2 Division of Communication for Development and Gender Studies, The Angels Trust, Ymergatan 3, Box 372, SE- 101 27 Stockholm, Sweden

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BMC International Health and Human Rights 2009, 9:12  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-9-12

Published: 9 June 2009

Abstract

Background

The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been undergoing collective violence for over 25 years, which has constituted a major public health problem. The objectives of this study were to investigate the predictors of women's attitudes toward intimate partner violence in the Niger Delta in comparison to that of women in other parts of Nigeria.

Methods

The 2003 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey was used for this study. Respondents were selected using a stratified two-stage cluster sampling procedure through which 3725 women were selected and interviewed. These women contributed 6029 live born children born to the survey. Internal consistency of the measure of the women's attitudes towards intimate partner violence against a woman was assessed using Cronbach's alpha (α). Percentage distributions of the relevant characteristics of the respondents were carried out, and multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to measure the magnitude and direction of the relationship between the outcome and predictor variables were expressed as odds ratios (OR) and statistical significance was determined at the 95 percent confident interval level (CI).

Results

Tolerance for intimate partner violence among the women in the Niger delta (47 percent) was higher than that of women from the rest of the country (42 percent). Rural residence, lower household wealth, lower status occupations, and media access (newspaper and radio) were associated with higher risk of justifying IPV among the women in the Niger Delta. In contrast full or partial autonomy in household decisions regarding food to be cooked, and access to television were associated with a lower risk of justifying violence.

Conclusion

The increased justification of intimate partner violence among the women in the Niger Delta could be explained by a combination of factors, among which are cognitive dissonance theory (attitudes that do not fit with other opinions they hold as a means of coping with their situation), ecological theory (behaviour or attitudes being shaped by current factors in their neighbourhood, community or family), and gender-role attitudes. Further in-depth studies are required to fully understand women's attitudes toward violence in areas of conflict