Witnessing intimate partner violence impacts schooling and labor market outcomes for young women in India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major health and social issue that affects around 30 percent of women globally. This study investigates the relationships through which witnessing IPV in adolescence may impact the labor force participation and employment prospects of women in early adulthood, using a unique dataset from Bihar (India), which surveyed youth (primarily girls) in adolescence and again nine years later. The study examined the relationship between exposure to IPV and labor market outcomes among young women, including intermediate factors likely to influence their employment prospects, such as educational attainment, self-efficacy, mental health, and soft skills. Witnessing IPV as an adolescent had a negative effect on educational attainment, mental health, and social and behavioral aspects of young women almost nine years later. IPV was not associated with the likelihood of paid employment or participation in skilled work among women, although it was associated with higher levels of labor force participation. These findings suggest that witnessing IPV should be considered one of multiple forms of violence that may expose young women to longer term vulnerability related to poorer educational and employment prospects, mental health, and social networks, with implications for economic and social development far beyond the family.