Economic hardship and intimate partner violence: An analysis of perpetrators in Germany




physical abuse, perpetration, economic pressure, poverty, family stress model


Objective: Based on the family stress model, we examine whether respondents are more likely to perpetrate physical IPV when experiencing economic hardship and pressure.

Background: Research has demonstrated an association of intimate partner violence (IPV) and economic factors. However, as the bulk of studies is limited to the female victim’s perspective, the picture remains incomplete; factors driving gender-specific effects and perpetration rates have thus far been overlooked.

Method: Using data from a large sample of individuals from the German Family Panel pairfam, which covers the period between 2009 and 2019, we employ pooled logistic regression models (n=6,661 individuals with 21,321 observations). Given the rich data source, we are able to control for a number of possible confounding effects. To correct for sample selection, we use calibrated design weights.

Results: Our analyses show that IPV perpetration is associated with poverty and economic pressure among women, but not men. When accounting for confounding factors such as the Big 5 personality traits and childhood experiences, these associations become insignificant. For men, unemployment is linked to IPV perpetration, but only when personality traits and childhood experiences are not accounted for.

Conclusion: Results imply that the association between adverse economic conditions and IPV perpetration is mainly due to unobserved heterogeneity. Thus, physical IPV perpetration is not primarily caused by the distress of financial strain, but rather by underlying factors such as personality traits and adverse childhood experiences, which are associated with both socioeconomic status, economic pressure, and aggressive behavior in intimate relationships.


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How to Cite

Schumann, N., Bozoyan, C., & Schmiedeberg, C. (2023). Economic hardship and intimate partner violence: An analysis of perpetrators in Germany. Journal of Family Research, 35, 267–285.