What Factors Explain Recent Increases in Husband-to-Wife Violence in Nigerian Households? A Decomposition Analysis of Three Waves of Cross-Sectional Data from 2008 to 2018

Bamidele Emmanuel Ola, Peter Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This study looks at the recent increases in husband-to-wife violence (HWV) in Nigeria, despite efforts to address the problem, with the specific purpose of identifying the factors associated with the changes. Method: The study examines data from three nationally representative surveys conducted in 2008, 2013, and 2018 via the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) program. Using a non-linear multivariate decomposition analytical technique (mvdcmp) recommended by Powers and colleagues in 2011, four factors contributing to HWV were examined: couples’ dyadic attitudes toward wife-beating, husband’s alcohol consumption behavior, household poverty, and women’s income relative to their husbands’. Results: The study found that HWV increased by 16% between 2008 and 2018. Changes in couples’ characteristics accounted for 28% of the changes in HWV. Declining attitudes towards wife-beating reduced potential occurrences, while increases in husbands’ alcohol misuse and aggression towards wives’ higher income increased the occurrences, especially in middle-income households. Behavioral effects accounted for 128% of the changes, with significant contributions from husbands’ alcohol misuse and reactions towards wives’ lack of personal income. Conclusion: Recent changes in women’s empowerment and disempowerment, as well as husbands’ problem-drinking, are associated with increased rates of HWV in Nigeria.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes toward violence
  • Couples
  • Decomposition analysis
  • Husband-to-wife violence
  • Nigeria
  • Trends

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