Objectives: Domestic violence is a medical and social issue that often leads to negative consequences for society. This paper examines the association between the prevalence of domestic violence in relation to the different socio-economic classes in Central Trinidad. The paper also explores the major perceived causes of physical abuse in Central Trinidad.
Subjects and Methods: Participants were selected using a two-stage stratified sampling method within the Couva district. Households, each contributing one participant, were stratified into different socioeconomic classes (SES Class) and each stratum size (or its share in the sample) was determined by the portion of its size in the sampling frame to the total sample; then its members were randomly selected. The sampling method attempted to balance and then minimize racial, age, cultural biases and confounding factors. The participant chosen had to be older than 16-years of age, female and a resident of the household. If more than one female was at home, the most senior was interviewed.
Results: The study found a statistically significant relationship between verbal abuse (p = 0.0017), physical abuse (p = 0.0012) and financial abuse (p = 0.001) and socio-economic class. For all the socio-economic classes considered, the highest prevalence of domestic violence occurred amongst the working class and lower middle socio-economic classes. The most prominent reasons cited for the physical violence was drug and alcohol abuse (37%) and communication differences (16.3%). These were the other two main perceived causes of the violence. The power of the study was 0.78 and the all strata prevalence of domestic violence was 41%.
Conclusions: Domestic violence was reported within all socio-economic class groupings but it was most prevalent within the working class and lower middle socio-economic classes. The major perceived cause of domestic violence was alcohol/drug abuse.