Understanding the Elevated Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence in Interracial Relationships

Douglas A. Brownridge, Tamara Taillieu, Ko Ling Chan, Caroline Piotrowski

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Research from the United States and Canada suggest that interracial relationships tend to have an elevated prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV). Among seven extant studies, only one empirically examined speculations in the literature for this relationship. Based on analyses of data from Statistics Canada’s 2009 General Social Survey (GSS), Brownridge was not able to fully account for the elevated odds of IPV in interracial relationships. The current study used data on 16,706 Canadians (731 in interracial relationships and 15,975 in noninterracial relationships) from the 2014 iteration of Statistics Canada’s GSS to determine whether the risk of IPV in interracial relationships had changed since 2009 and to explore risk factors that may account for the elevated odds of IPV in interracial relationships. Results showed that individuals in interracial relationships faced elevated odds of IPV victimization relative to monoracial relationships in the 5-year reporting period prior to the study (odds ratio [OR] = 2.37; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.40, 4.02]; p <.001). This was similar to what Brownridge found in the 2009 GSS data, indicating that the elevated risk of IPV in interracial relationships had remained stable in Canada over a 10-year reporting period. Risk factors from three levels of an ecological model were explored, and logistic multiple regression analyses showed that characteristics of the partner (young age, drug use, and jealous behavior) fully accounted for the significantly elevated odds of IPV victimization in interracial unions. Although the leading speculation for this relationship implicates stressors that are unique to these relationships, the current study suggested that this phenomenon is mostly due to characteristics of individuals with whom those in interracial relationships are more likely to be coupled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP3844-NP3868
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • abuse
  • child abuse
  • Interracial
  • intimate partner violence
  • visible minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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