This study assessed the relationship between multiple partner fertility (MPF) and intimate partner violence (IPV) and whether such relationship differed by children’s age.
IPV negatively impacts the well-being of women and children. Some risk factors for IPV, such as financial insecurity and young age, have been identified. Much less is known about the extent to which MPF, an increasingly common experience for women in a wide range of countries, is associated with an increased risk of IPV.
We used data of mothers with at least two children from the Colombian 2015 Demographic and Health Surveys (N = 16,621). We estimated a series of logistic regression models to examine the association between MPF and IPV; our models controlled for various measures of mothers’ and households’ characteristics.
The prevalence of IPV was higher among mothers with MPF than mothers with single partner fertility (SPF). MPF was associated with an increased risk of IPV, but this relationship was only significant for younger mothers (aged 25–29 years). The association between MPF and IPV did not differ by the age of the youngest child.
Younger mothers with MPF are at a higher risk of experiencing IPV than younger mothers with SPF.
IPV programming would benefit from targeted interventions aimed at young mothers with MPF and their children. More research exploring the dynamics of family complexity and IPV is needed.