Armed conflict, alcohol misuse, decision-making, and intimate partner violence among women in Northeastern Uganda: a population level study

Mootz, Jennifer J.; Muhanguzi, Florence K.; Panko, Pavel; Mangen, Patrick O.; Wainberg, Milton L.; Pinsky, Ilana; Khoshnood, Kaveh

Relations among and interactions between exposure to armed conflict, alcohol misuse, low socioeconomic status, gender (in)equitable decision-making, and intimate partner violence (IPV) represent serious global health concerns. Our objective was to determine extent of exposure to these variables and test pathways between these indicators of interest.

We surveyed 605 women aged 13 to 49 who were randomly selected via multistage sampling across three districts in Northeastern Uganda in 2016. We used Mplus 7.4 to estimate a moderated structural equation model of indirect pathways between armed conflict and intimate partner violence for currently partnered women (n = 558) to evaluate the strength of the relationships between the latent factors and determine the goodness-of-fit of the proposed model with the population data.

Most respondents (88.8%) experienced conflict-related violence. The lifetime/ past 12 month prevalence of experiencing intimate partner violence was 65.3%/ 50.9% (psychological) and 59.9%/ 43.8% (physical). One-third (30.7%) of women’s partners reportedly consumed alcohol daily. The relative fit of the structural model was superior (CFI = 0.989; TLI = 0.989). The absolute fit (RMSEA = 0.029) closely matched the population data. The partner and joint decision-making groups significantly differed on the indirect effect through partner alcohol use (a1b1 = 0.209 [0.017: 0.467]).

This study demonstrates that male partner alcohol misuse is associated with exposure to armed conflict and intimate partner violence—a relationship moderated by healthcare decision-making. These findings encourage the extension of integrated alcohol misuse and intimate partner violence policy and emergency humanitarian programming to include exposure to armed conflict and gendered decision-making practices.

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Conflict and Health

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October 4, 2018


Armed conflict, Uganda, Alcohol use, Domestic violence, Decision-making