Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adding to the strain for Indian women: Abuse by in-laws during pregnancy

Date:
August 16, 2010
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Physical abuse and maltreatment by in-laws is not uncommon among pregnant and postpartum women in India, and may be compromising maternal and child health, according to a new study.

Physical abuse and maltreatment by in-laws is not uncommon among pregnant and postpartum women in India, and may be compromising maternal and child health, according to a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.

The study by a multi-institutional team led by Anita Raj, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH -- published online this month in the Maternal and Child Health Journal -- found that more than one in four women study participants in the low-income Mumbai community reported violence or other forms of maltreatment from in-laws during pregnancy or after giving birth.

Such abuse, which ranged from denial of food to impeded access to medical care, was significantly more likely among women who also experienced violence from their husbands, the study found.

"Findings from this study clearly document the high prevalence of in-law abuse both in pregnancy and postpartum and more importantly, the striking relationship between perinatal in-law abuse and [intimate partner violence]" by husbands, the authors wrote. "These findings have critical implications for perinatal [intimate partner violence] prevention and intervention efforts with South Asian women and in cultural contexts where extended families form an important social unit."

The study involved in-depth interviews with women in Mumbai to gauge the prevalence of physical and non-physical abuse by in-laws and husbands during pregnancy and after giving birth. Among the forms of abuse by in-laws that women described was verbal humiliation, impeding access to health care, and denial of food during pregnancy. While rates of physical abuse were relatively low, 20 percent of women reported that in-laws had insulted them or their families in front of others during their pregnancies. Some women also reported that in-laws pressured them to become pregnant, made decisions regarding the timing of conception or abortion, and dictated who would care for the child.

In one interview included in the study, a 17-year-old Muslim woman says her in-laws "want a boy child, and as you know, I delivered [a] girl child. My sister-in-law has some uterus problems, so she is unable to conceive a child. Now my in-laws want me to deliver another child [a boy] and give the girl to my sister-in-law."

The study authors said the link between husband abuse and mistreatment by in-laws had important implications for prevention and intervention efforts for South Asian women, in a culture where social units are built around extended families.

"Evidence from this and other studies demonstrates the need to screen and address abuse from in-laws among pregnant and postpartum populations, and indicate that screening for in-law abuse also will likely improve the detection of [abuse by husbands]," the study says.

The authors also pushed for broader changes in social policy "to promote gender equitable attitudes and norms" and to improve the status of women.

Raj has done extensive research on child marriage and domestic violence in India. Her co-authors on the study include: Shagun Sabarwal and Jay G. Silverman, of Harvard School of Public Health; Michele R. Decker, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Saritha Nair, Meghna Jethva and Balaiah Donta, of the Indian Council of Medical Research in Mumbai, India; Suneeta Krishnan, of the Women's Global Health Imperative, RTI International, and the Division of Epidemiology, University of California-Berkeley; and Niranjan Saggurti, of the Population Council, New Delhi, India.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anita Raj, Shagun Sabarwal, Michele R. Decker, Saritha Nair, Meghna Jethva, Suneeta Krishnan, Balaiah Donta, Niranjan Saggurti, Jay G. Silverman. Abuse from In-Laws during Pregnancy and Post-Partum: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings from Low-income Mothers of Infants in Mumbai, India. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 2010; DOI: 10.1007/s10995-010-0651-2

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Adding to the strain for Indian women: Abuse by in-laws during pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816114829.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2010, August 16). Adding to the strain for Indian women: Abuse by in-laws during pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816114829.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Adding to the strain for Indian women: Abuse by in-laws during pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816114829.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins