Nationally Representative Sample Shows an Increase in Domestic Conflict Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published in: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness (2021). doi: 10.1017/dmp.2021.134

Posted on RAND.org on February 09, 2022

by Alicia Revitsky Locker, Melissa L. Finucane, Elizabeth Roth, Katherine Grace Carman, Joshua Breslau

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Objective

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and associated social distancing increased stressors related to risk for domestic conflict, but increases in domestic conflict early in the pandemic have yet to be studied in community samples.

Methods

Increase in domestic conflict (verbal or physical fights) since the beginning of the pandemic was assessed in 1,196 partnered and cohabitating respondents, drawn from a nationally representative sample, in May 2020. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were used to estimate associations of demographic characteristics and financial worry with domestic conflict.

Results

An increase in domestic conflict was reported by 10.6% (95% CI: 7.7–13.4) of the sample. Domestic conflict increase was significantly associated with younger age, lower education, and financial worry.

Conclusion

Increases in domestic conflict were seen in certain vulnerable groups and in those who report financial worry. Policies ensuring financial stability, particularly early in the disaster conditions, could reduce domestic conflict during continued COVID-19 conditions or other disasters.

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