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AIDS Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 187890, 9 pages
Research Article

Tanzanian Couples’ Perspectives on Gender Equity, Relationship Power, and Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the RESPECT Study

1RTI International, 114 Sansome Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94104, USA
2Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California Berkeley, 101 Haviland Hall, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
3Development Research Group, The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA
4Health Economics and Finance, Global Health Program, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, P.O. Box 23350 Seattle, WA 98102, USA
5Ifakara Health Institute, Plot 463 Kiko Avenue, Mikocheni, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
6Division of Health Policy and Management, University of California Berkeley, 239 University Hall, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA

Received 10 June 2012; Revised 29 November 2012; Accepted 29 November 2012

Academic Editor: Craig R. Cohen

Copyright © 2012 Suneeta Krishnan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is widely prevalent in Tanzania. Inequitable gender norms manifest in men’s and women’s attitudes about power and decision making in intimate relationships and are likely to play an important role in determining the prevalence of IPV. We used data from the RESPECT study, a randomized controlled trial that evaluated an intervention to prevent sexually transmitted infections in a cohort of young Tanzanian men and women, to examine the relationship between couples’ attitudes about IPV, relationship power, and sexual decision making, concordance on these issues, and women’s reports of IPV over 12 months. Women expressed less equitable attitudes than men at baseline. Over time, participants’ attitudes tended to become more equitable and women’s reports of IPV declined substantially. Multivariable logistic regression analyses suggested that inequitable attitudes and couple discordance were associated with higher risk of IPV. Our findings point to the need for a better understanding of the role that perceived or actual imbalances in relationship power have in heightening IPV risk. The decline in women’s reports of IPV and the trend towards gender-equitable attitudes indicate that concerted efforts to reduce IPV and promote gender equity have the potential to make a positive difference in the relatively short term.