Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - PloS one
Title Is spousal violence being “vertically transmitted” through victims? Findings from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-13
Volume 10
Issue 6
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers e0129790
URL http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129790

Violence against women is regarded as a major violation of human rights, and several socio-behavioral aspects among victims have been identified as important determinants of spousal violence experience. Pakistani nationally representative contextual evidence is scarce in this regard. We aimed to estimate prevalence of spousal violence, and explore its association with intergenerational transfer, and attitudinal acceptance of violence, among Pakistani ever-married women.

Materials and Methods

Data of 3,687 ever-married women from Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, 2012-13 was used to perform secondary analysis. Logistic regression analyses were conducted. Association between the different forms of spousal violence and the independent variables: intergenerational transfer of spousal violence (mother also beaten up by father); and attitudinal acceptance of spousal violence (beating is justifies if wife argues with husband) were reported as Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CI).


Overall, more than a third (n=1344, 37.9%)of ever-married women reported that they experienced spousal violence. Almost 68% (n=539) of the women who reported that their mothers were also beaten up by their fathers, were victims of spousal violence; and almost 47% (n=603) of the women who agreed that beating was justified if the wife argues with her husband, also suffered spousal violence. Intergenerational transfer (OR =5.71, 95%CI 4.40-7.41, p-value <0.01), and attitudinal acceptance (OR =1.66, 95%CI 1.27-2.15, p-value <0.01) were significantly associated with experience of physical violence even after adjusting for respondents’ age at marriage, education level, wealth index, parity, employment status, and empowerment status.


Spousal violence continues to haunt the lives of women in Pakistan, and is being transmitted as a learned behavior from mothers to daughters who tend to accept such violation of human rights. Girl children from such unfortunate homes may continue to transmit such behaviors, and thus may be targeted for future anti-domestic violence efforts.

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