Rachael Pierotti, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, analyzed data on hundreds of thousands of people collected in Demographic and Health Surveys. Half of the countries surveyed are in sub-Saharan Africa.
The study, published in the American Sociological Review, found Nigeria had the largest change, with 65 percent of men and 52 percent of women rejecting domestic violence in 2008, compared with 48 percent of men and 33 percent of women in 2003.
Data on male attitudes was available in 15 of the countries Pierotti studied. Men were more likely than women to reject domestic violence in Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Among the survey questions asked were: Sometimes a husband is annoyed or angered by things which his wife does. In your opinion, is a husband justified in hitting or beating his wife in the following situations?
-- If she goes out without telling him.
-- If she neglects the children.
-- If she argues with him.
-- If she refuses to have sex with him.
-- If she burns the food.
In general, Pierotti found people were most likely to say that violence was justified if a wife neglected the children and least likely if a wife burned the food.
Pierotti found those who lived in urban areas, and who had more education, were more likely to reject wife-beating than those who lived in rural areas and had relatively less education. Those with access to newspapers, radio and television were more likely to reject wife beating n many of the countries, the study said.
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