Community Matters: Intimate Partner Violence Among Rural Young Adults

Katie M. Edwards, Marybeth J. Mattingly, Kristiana J. Dixon, Victoria L. Banyard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Drawing on social disorganization theory, the current study examined the extent to which community-level poverty rates and collective efficacy influenced individual reports of intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration, victimization, and bystander intervention among a sample of 178 young adults (18-24; 67.4 % women) from 16 rural counties across the eastern US who completed an online survey that assessed demographic information, IPV perpetration, victimization, bystander intervention, and collective efficacy. We computed each county's poverty rate from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey. Generalized estimating equations demonstrated that after controlling for individual-level income status, community-level poverty positively predicted IPV victimization and perpetration for both men and women. Collective efficacy was inversely related to IPV victimization and perpetration for men; however, collective efficacy was unrelated to IPV victimization and perpetration for women. Whereas IPV bystander intervention was positively related to collective efficacy and inversely related to individual-level income status for both men and women, community-level poverty was unrelated to IPV bystander intervention for both men and women. Overall, these findings provide some support for social disorganization theory in explaining IPV among rural young adults, and underscore the importance of multi-level IPV prevention and intervention efforts focused around community-capacity building and enhancement of collective efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-207
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Bystander intervention
  • Collective efficacy
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Poverty
  • Rural
  • Social disorganization


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