A Mediational Analysis of the Role of Daughter Marriage in the Relationship Between Proximity to Conflict and Past-Year Domestic Violence in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka

Ruvani W. Fonseka, Lotus McDougal, Anita Raj, Elizabeth Reed, Rebecka Lundgren, Lianne Urada, and Jay G. Silverman



Studies from many settings indicate that proximity to conflict is associated with an increased likelihood of intimate partner violence (IPV), and that marriage of girls is associated with both proximity to conflict and an increase in IPV. In this study, we examine whether daughter marriage mediates the association between proximity to conflict and IPV in the context of Sri Lanka, which experienced long-term conflict until 2009.


We analyzed the responses of currently married women aged 18-49 in the 2016 Sri Lankan Demographic and Health Survey (N = 13,691). Using logistic regression analyses, we measured associations between proximity to conflict (residence in central, proximal, or distal districts of areas where war occurred) and IPV and marriage outcomes girls, and then assessed girls’ marriage as a possible mediator of the association between proximity to conflict and previous year IPV.


Women residing in conflict-central districts, compared to conflict-remote districts, had an increased likelihood of sexual, physical, and emotional IPV over the past year, with the likelihood of sexual IPV increasing the most (adjusted odds ratio /aOR 4.19, 95% confidence interval/CI 2.08–8.41). Residing in districts close to the conflict compared to those far from the conflict was associated with a lower likelihood of both physical and emotional IPV in the past year, with the largest decrease in emotional IPV (aOR 0.31 , CI 0.18–0.54). Girls’ marriage was more likely in conflict-central than in conflict-distant districts (aOR 1.89, CI 1.22–2.93), and partially influenced the relationship between conflict centrality and IPV.


Our results demonstrate that residing in conflict-central versus remote-conflict districts is associated with greater likelihood of IPV and girl marriage in post-conflict Sri Lanka, with girl marriage partially mediating the association between conflict centrality and IPV. Residence in districts close to the conflict seems protective against domestic violence. Future research should investigate the factors responsible for the decrease in domestic violence in districts close to violence and whether these factors can be replicated to mitigate the increased prevalence of domestic violence in districts at the heart of conflict.

Comments are closed.