Determinants of wife-beating justification amongst men in southern African countries: Evidence from demographic and health surveys

Mluleki Tsawe, Karabo Mhele


Domestic violence remains a major social challenge in many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed to identify factors associated with wife-beating amongst men and determine the levels of justification. Demographic and Health Survey data from four southern African countries were used. Using a weighted sample of 26 441 men aged 15–49 years; analysis was conducted at bivariate and multivariate levels. The results indicated that a quarter of study participants endorsed wife-beating for at least one reason. The most common justification for abuse was neglecting children and going out without informing the husband. These attitudes varied significantly among countries with the highest prevalence rates observed in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Education and household wealth were the most consistently significant factors across these countries. The study, therefore, recommends that education and household wealth be improved across these countries to reduce the incidence of wife-beating. (Afr J Reprod Health 2022; 26[9]: 85-93)

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