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Economic Abuse as an Invisible Form of Domestic Violence: A Multicountry Review

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The predominant perception of intimate partner violence (IPV) as constituting physical violence can still dominate, particularly in research and media reports, despite research documenting multiple forms of IPV including sexual violence occurring between intimate partners and various forms of psychological and emotional abuse. One frequently hidden or “invisible” form of abuse perpetrated within intimate partner relationships is economic abuse, also referred to as financial abuse in much of the literature. While the links between gendered economic insecurity and economic abuse are emerging, there remains a lack of consistency about definitions within the United States and globally, as there is no agreed upon index with which to measure economic abuse. As such, the purpose of this article is to review and analyze the global literature focused on either economic or financial abuse to determine how it is defined and what measures are used to capture its prevalence and impact. The 46 peer-reviewed articles that met all inclusion criteria for analysis came from a range of countries across six continents. Our review found that there is growing clarity and consistency of terminologies being used in these articles and found some consistency in the use of validated measures. Since this research is in its “infancy,” we need to have stronger collaborative efforts to use similar measures and terminology. Part of that collaborative effort is to consider how language and cultural differences may play a part in our understanding of economic abuse.
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Economic Abuse as an Invisible Form of
Domestic Violence: A Multicountry Review
Judy L. Postmus
1
, Gretchen L. Hoge
2
, Jan Breckenridge
3
,
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs
4
, and Donna Chung
5
Abstract
The predominant perception of intimate partner violence (IPV) as constituting physical violence can still dominate, particularly in
research and media reports, despite research documenting multiple forms of IPV including sexual violence occurring between
intimate partners and various forms of psychological and emotional abuse. One frequently hidden or “invisible” form of abuse
perpetrated within intimate partner relationships is economic abuse, also referred to as financial abuse in much of the liter-
ature. While the links between gendered economic insecurity and economic abuse are emerging, there remains a lack of
consistency about definitions within the United States and globally, as there is no agreed upon index with which to measure
economic abuse. As such, the purpose of this article is to review and analyze the global literature focused on either economic
or financial abuse to determine how it is defined and what measures are used to capture its prevalence and impact. The 46 peer-
reviewed articles that met all inclusion criteria for analysis came from a range of countries across six continents. Our review
found that there is growing clarity and consistency of terminologies being used in these articles and found some consistency in
the use of validated measures. Since this research is in its “infancy,” we need to have stronger collaborative efforts to use
similar measures and terminology. Part of that collaborative effort is to consider how language and cultural differences may play
a part in our understanding of economic abuse.
Keywords
anything related to domestic violence, domestic violence, battered women
Introduction
The fact that intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant
social concern affecting a substantial number of women and
children is now undeniable, making it a gendered problem. In
most international jurisdictions, the importance of understand-
ing the needs of and responding to IPV victims is clearly under-
stood. Establishing the prevalence of all forms of violence
against women (VAW) has been a priority since the Conven-
tion on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women,
1
adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General
Assembly (Articles 12 and 19). Most recently, the 2011 Coun-
cil of Europe Convention on preventing and combating VAW
and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention,
2
further details the importance of research intended to move
beyond prevalence in order to better understand the dynamics
of VAW in Europe (including IPV; Article 11). As a direct
result of the number of international conventions and treaties,
research on VAW, including IPV has been prioritized in many
jurisdictions ensuring a growing global evidence base.
Despite prioritizing research in this area, the predominant
focus of international and national studies to date has been on
establishing the prevalence of physical violence and/or threat.
While surely unintended, the seriousness of the effects of IPV
is most often assessed by the extent and nature of any physical
injury. This perception of IPV as primarily constituting phys-
ical violence still dominates, particularly in media reports of
IPV, regardless of reports from practitioners and victims sub-
stantiating multiple forms of abuse. Such forms include sexual
violence and various forms of psychological and emotional
abuse. In an effort to better understand the dynamics of these
latter two manifestations of IPV, many researchers argue that
1
Center on Violence Against Women and Children, School of Social Work,
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
2
Department of Social Work, Lewis University, Romeoville, IL, USA
3
School of Social Sciences, UNSW, Sydney, Australia
4
Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University,
London, United Kingdom
5
School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Curtin University, Perth,
Australia
Corresponding Author:
Judy L. Postmus, Center on Violence Against Women and Children, School of
Social Work, Rutgers University, 390 George Street, Suite 408, New Bruns-
wick, NJ 08901, USA.
Email: postmus@ssw.rutgers.edu
TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE
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ªThe Author(s) 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/1524838018764160
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the context in which violence and abuse occur in intimate
partnerships—frequently referred to as contexts of “coercive
control” (Stark, 2007), is critical. This is where abusers use a
variety of tactics to maintain control over their partners by
forcing physical, emotional, and financial dependency and pro-
ducing a continual fear which prevents women from challen-
ging their actions. Women forced into such dependency are at
greater risk, according to the marital dependency theory (Vyas
& Watts, 2008) and the interdependence theory (Rusbult &
Van Lange, 2003), of being trapped in the relationship. This
explains why women report that economic concerns are one of
their top reasons why leaving the abuser is so difficult (Sanders
& Schnabel, 2006; Strube, 1988). It is precisely the relational
and gendered context of IPV that makes these tactics hard to
detect because the “means and effects .. .are easily confused
with the range of sacrifices women are expected to make in
their roles as homemakers, parents and sexual partners” (Stark,
2007, p. 230).
One frequently hidden or “invisible” form of abuse perpe-
trated within intimate partner relationships is economic or
financial abuse. Practitioners and emerging qualitative research
have for some time recognized that IPV contributes to
“poverty, financial risk and financial insecurity for women,
sometimes long after the relationship has ended” (Braaf &
Barrett Meyering, 2010, p. 5). From this perspective, economic
insecurity is framed as a likely consequence of IPV for women
leaving a violent relationship at the time of separation and in its
aftermath. Although identified early on by practitioners in the
IPV field as a fundamental underpinning of coercive control,
only relatively recently has economic abuse been conceptua-
lized as separate from emotional and psychological abuse—
albeit with some overlap (Stylianou, Postmus, & McMahon,
2013). Corrie and McGuire (2013) suggest that we are yet to
fully establish the prevalence of economic abuse, in part,
because victims may have difficulty distinguishing economi-
cally abusive patterns from the economic insecurity they expe-
rience as women.
Economic insecurity is, without doubt, a gendered issue
with factors such as the gendered nature of care, the under-
valuing of women’s paid and unpaid work, and workforce dis-
crimination all contributing to women consistently
experiencing poorer social and economic outcomes throughout
their life course. Given that existing prevalence data provide
evidence of gender asymmetry in victimization and perpetra-
tion of IPV, it is not a surprise that economic abuse is com-
pounded by the context of women’s economic insecurity more
generally. It is also possible that victims do not always under-
stand the ongoing consequences and extent of the damage
caused by economic abuse prior to leaving the relationship and
so may fail to recognize economic abuse as a form of IPV
during the relationship.
While the links between gendered economic insecurity and
economic abuse are emergent at best (Corrie, 2016), there
remains a lack of consistency about definitions within the
United States and globally, as there is no agreed index with
which to measure economic abuse, underscoring the purpose of
this article. As with all measures of social concerns, definitions
do matter and it is here that the research can lack precision. The
choice of different terms defined in slightly different ways, and
the interchange of terms at other times has had the unintended
effect of diluting the evidence base. The lack of definitional
clarity also means it is difficult to measure whether service and
policy responses are dealing appropriately with the issue, if at
all. As such, the purpose of this article is to determine how the
peer-reviewed global literature defines and measures economic
or financial abuse to then highlight implications based on an
analysis of the literature. The questions framing this study
include (1) how do researchers define economic/financial
abuse? and (2) how do researchers measure economic/financial
abuse?
Existing Definitions of Economic Abuse
and Financial Abuse
Economic abuse has been defined as a deliberate pattern of
control in which individuals interfere with their partner’s abil-
ity to acquire, use, and maintain economic resources (Adams,
Sullivan, Bybee, & Greeson, 2008; Postmus, Plummer, McMa-
hon, Murshid, & Kim, 2012). Academics have sought to cate-
gorize the different forms that economic abuse can take. For
instance, Postmus, Plummer, and Stylianou (2016) suggest that
economic abuse involves behaviors that control, exploit, or
sabotage an individual’s economic resources including
employment.
Economic abuse and financial abuse are frequently used
interchangeably in the literature (Sharp-Jeffs, 2015b). Alterna-
tively, abuse may be described as affecting the economic or
financial security of victims of IPV or causing economic or
financial insecurity. Sharp-Jeffs (2015a) adapted the definition
of economic abuse, proposing to use the term “financial abuse”
instead of economic abuse. The distinction made here between
economic and financial abuse is that financial abuse is part of
economic abuse and involves similar behaviors; however,
financial abuse focuses specifically on individual money and
finances and not economic resources (e.g., transportation, a
place to live, employment, and education; Sharp-Jeffs,
2015a). Yount, Krause, and VanderEnde (2016) recently used
the term “economic coercion” to describe the same economic
abusive behaviors identified by others (Adams et al., 2008;
Postmus, Plummer, & Stylianou, 2016) in which an abuser
attempts to control the partner’s ability to acquire, use, and
maintain resources.
It is important to note that much of the available literature
describes a range of controlling behaviors or tactics which may
keep victims of IPV financially dependent and socially iso-
lated, often, in place of a definition. Some of the tactics of
economic abuse include reduced access to savings and assets
(Braaf & Barrett Meyering, 2010), deliberately causing hous-
ing insecurity by damaging property or not making rent or
mortgage payments (Valentine & Breckenridge, 2016), and
malicious interference with workforce and educational partic-
ipation (Breckenridge, Walden, & Flax, 2014).
2TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE XX(X)
Measuring Economic Abuse
The measures used in studies on IPV may include items that ask
about forms of economic or financial abuse; however, without
identifying such abuse as a focus of the work, they fail to
reliably capture the scope, complexity, or magnitude of the
abuse. For example, Outlaw (2009) included one question
about economic abuse as part of the National Violence Against
Women Survey and then concluded that economic abuse was a
rare phenomenon, occurring less than physical abuse.
Other studies have included more than one question on
economic abuse but again, fail to identify the term as a focus
of the work. Instead, the questions are frequently integrated
into emotional or psychological abuse scales or subscales. For
example, the Abusive Behavior Inventory (ABI; Shepard &
Campbell, 1992) has two subscales—Physical and Psycholo-
gical—in which a few questions on economic abuse are part
of the Psychological Abuse subscale. Similarly, the Index of
Spouse Abuse Hudson & McIntosh, 1981) had physical and
Non-Physical Abuse subscales in which the Non-Physical
Abuse subscale included two questions on economic abuse;
however, the term was never mentioned in the reporting of
the results. The Psychological Maltreatment of Women
Inventory (PMWI; Tolman, 1989) has five questions on
economic abuse as part of the long form; however, the short
form only retained one question.
Other researchers included questions on economic abuse
without recognizing they had done so. For example, Lloyd
(1997) used an expanded version of the Conflict Tactics Scale
to include questions around work sabotage efforts, which is a
form of economic abuse. Although not naming economic
abuse, the qualitative portion of this study provided illustra-
tions of what could be understood as employment sabotage,
economic exploitation, and economic control. Similarly,
Tolman and Wang (2005) focused on employment sabotage
efforts that abusers use against victims in their literature
review; unfortunately, they failed to mention or include ques-
tions on economic or financial abuse in their measure of abuse.
Finally, Weaver, Sanders, Campbell, and Schnabel (2009)
created the Domestic Violence–Related Financial Issues Scale
(DV-FI) that included a subscale on economic abuse as part of
their evaluation of a financial literacy program. This subscale
only included five questions, of which three focused on credit
card debt and credit rating and failed to capture a wider view of
the phenomenon.
Adams, Sullivan, Bybee, and Greeson (2008) created the
first Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA) from several sources
such as existing research and from interviews with advocates
and IPV survivors. The researchers started with a 120-item
scale covering several concepts of economic abuse including
preventing women’s resource acquisition, preventing women’s
use of resources, and exploiting women’s resources. After fur-
ther testing, the final scale included 28 questions and two sub-
scales including economic exploitation and economic control.
Postmus et al. (2016) further tested the SEA and reduced the
items to 12 questions, naming it the SEA-12. From their
analyses, they found three conceptual categories of economic
abuse—economic control, economic exploitation, and employ-
ment sabotage. Further testing of the SEA-12 with a new sam-
ple of survivors found that the SEA-12 was a reliable and valid
measure of economic abuse and that such abuse is distinctly
different from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (Stylianou
et al., 2013). Additionally, the testing found that the three
constructs were also uniquely different from each other and
from other forms of abuse.
While it is clear from a preliminary review of the literature
that economic abuse may be reported by victims of IPV,
research to date subsumes economic abuse into the categories
of emotional or psychological abuse, fails to report the findings
as economic abuse, or does not report the results of the limited
number of survey questions at all. Additionally, the recent
publications of a scale for economic abuse has had limited
testing with varied samples of survivors; they were also only
tested with samples in the United States. Hence, the measure-
ment of economic abuse in IPV is limited. Additionally, there
have been no studies which have attempted to systematically
review the ways in which it has been measured internationally.
Method
The purpose of this study was to provide greater clarity on how
the peer-reviewed global literature defines and measures eco-
nomic or financial abuse and then to provide implications
based on an analysis of this literature. The questions framing
this study include (1) how do researchers define economic/
financial abuse? and (2) how do researchers measure eco-
nomic/financial abuse?
Search Strategy
We conducted a comprehensive review between April 2016 and
May 2017 of main databases in the following fields: social work,
sociology, psychology, public policy, gender and women’s stud-
ies, criminal justice, and economics. Databases searched
included: Social Work Abstracts (EBSCO), Social Services
Abstracts, Family and Society Studies Worldwide, PAIS Inter-
national, PsychiatryOnline, PsychINFO (including PsychARTI-
CLES), Sociological Abstracts, ProQuest Sociology, PubMed,
Business Source Premier, Econlit, Worldwide Political Science
Abstracts, Academic Search Premier, GenderWatch, Women’s
Studies International, and Criminal Justice Abstracts. Search
terms included: (1) “financial abuse,” (2) “economic abuse,”
(3) “economic security AND abuse,” and (4) a combination of
all three (“financial abuse” OR “economic abuse” OR
“economic security AND abuse”). Search terms, when entered
as a string, used “OR” between individual search terms to mini-
mize overlap in search results while still ensuring that all rele-
vant articles would be captured for each string term. There was
no limit on the year in which the article could be published. Due
to the large number of results in each search, the search was
limited to peer-reviewed, scholarly literature. Articles were lim-
ited to those published in the English language.
Postmus et al. 3
Inclusion Criteria
The database search resulted in 274 articles that addressed
financial or economic abuse in the context of IPV, elder abuse,
system-related abuse, abuse and disability, and child abuse.
This was narrowed to 80 articles that specifically related to
IPV or VAW. Although we recognize that IPV is a gendered
problem with most victims identified as female, to be exhaus-
tive in our search for research on economic abuse, we included
any studies in peer-reviewed journals regardless of the gender
of the perpetrator or the victim.
An analysis of the 80 articles was first done to identify
whether economic or financial abuse was mentioned as a main
focus (n¼33) of the article (i.e., economic abuse was a vari-
able in the analyses and the article included an in-depth dis-
cussion of these results) or as a semifocus (n¼47) of the article
(i.e., economic abuse was a variable but was not the specific
focus of the article). Upon further analysis, three articles were
removed due to publication in nonacademic sources and one
article was removed as it was a research proposal, narrowing
the articles for consideration to 76 articles. Reference lists of
key authors, identified based on our familiarity with their work,
and articles examining the measurement of economic abuse,
were then reviewed to determine whether any additional arti-
cles should be included. This resulted in the addition of one
article for analysis for a total of 77 articles.
Decisions about the inclusion of articles in analysis at this
stage involved two steps of evaluation, which resulted in the
removal of eight articles, leaving 69 articles. Articles were
then further excluded from analysis if they did not clearly
define economic/financial abuse and provide additional
examples of tactics. For example, articles were excluded from
analysis if their focus was on a general IPV measure and
included items that would be categorized as economic/finan-
cial abuse by experts in this area but did not name them or
categorize them as such (n¼2). Additionally, articles where
the multidimensional construct was called something other
than economic/financial abuse (i.e., economic coercion,
financial coercive control) were also excluded (n¼2). This
left 65 articles remaining for consideration. Finally, all eight
conceptual articles and 11 qualitative only studies were
removed. These articles, while providing interesting informa-
tion and theories about economic abuse, did not define or test
this form of abuse which is the key focus on this study. In the
end, this left the analysis to focus on 46 articles examining
economic abuse in a quantitative (n¼42) or mixed methods
(n¼4) capacity.
Data Extraction and Analysis
An in-depth analysis of the full length of each article was
conducted to gather relevant data. These data included the type
of research conducted (i.e., quantitative, mixed method), sam-
ple characteristics, the country where the research took place,
the study setting, how authors referred to the construct (i.e.,
economic abuse/financial abuse/something else), how authors
defined economic/financial abuse and the specific tactics
included in the introduction and background sections of their
manuscripts, the characteristics of tools used to measure eco-
nomic abuse presented in the methods and results sections of
each manuscript, and the manner in which economic abuse
was used in the research conducted (i.e., independent/predic-
tor variable, dependent/outcome variable, measurement
development). The data were then analyzed through constant
comparison methods to extract answers to our questions guid-
ing this study. To complement this inductive analysis
approach, we also used a deductive or a priori approach to
understanding how economic or financial abuse was defined.
This a priori approach was based on the knowledge of the
theoretical and measurement development literature on eco-
nomic or financial abuse in which we used the three constructs
of economic control, economic exploitation, and employment
sabotage. These inductive and deductive approaches to the
analysis allowed us to acknowledge our own biases around
constructs related to economic abuse while also allowing for
the possibility of additional constructs to derive from the
literature.
Results
The 46 peer-reviewed articles that met all inclusion criteria for
analysis came from a range of countries across six continents.
The majority of articles (17) came from research conducted in
the United States. Four articles came from South Africa. Three
articles came from research in Canada or Palestine. Two arti-
cles came from the UK, Ivory Coast, and the Philippines. One
article from each of the following countries was also included:
Australia, Germany, Iran, Japan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Nigeria,
South Korea, Tanzania, Trinidad, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. One
article was derived from a multicountry study conducted in
Asia and the Pacific.
Overall, 18 studies examined economic abuse with vic-
tims. Thirteen of the studies included samples of female vic-
tims who were recruited using various methods from
community settings, domestic violence agencies and shelters,
health-care settings, or an Individual Development Account
savings program for IPV victims. One study focused on gay
and bisexual male victims from HIV agencies serving men of
color. One study included a random sample of both male and
female victims from a nationally representative survey. One
study compared the experiences of a sample of female perpe-
trators of abuse (as victims) in an offenders’ program with a
sample of female victims in a shelter setting. Two studies
compared the experiences (as victims and perpetrators of
abuse) of convenience samples of female survivors staying
in women’s shelters, male and female college students, and
male prisoners.
There were 26 studies that recruited participants from the
general population of women and/or men. This included 20
studies that examined the construct with a general sample of
women. These women were recruited from the community
using various methods, from health-care settings, from
4TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE XX(X)
microfinance programs, or by using a random sample of
women from nonrepresentative samples or from nationally or
geographically representative samples. One study examined
the construct with a sample of men (as potential perpetrators)
that was representative of each of nine site samples across
multiple countries. Five studies examined the construct with
both men and women using a convenience sample from the
community, or using a random sample obtained from a nation-
ally representative survey, from a military management sys-
tem, or from a college campus.
Overall, two studies examined the concept with service provi-
ders. One of these studies included a sample of lawyers and advo-
cates working in the field. The other study surveyed medical
students who would potentially treat patients who had experi-
enced IPV. Please refer to Table 1 for a description of the articles.
How Economic/Financial Abuse Is Defined
Table 2 provides information on how economic abuse was
defined and measured in the 46 articles. Each citation includes
a brief description and whether: (1) economic abuse was
clearly defined or not, (2) economic abusive tactics were
included or not, and (3) which constructs were captured in the
definition/tactics.
Overall, 20 articles included a clear definition of economic/
financial abuse and/or listed more than one tactic used by per-
petrators to illustrate the construct in the introduction or back-
ground section of the manuscript. Upon analysis, these tactics
were thematically captured under the three constructs identi-
fied in theoretical and measurement development literature
including economic control, economic exploitation, and
employment sabotage. Of the 20 articles with a clear definition
and/or description of abusive tactics, 14 articles covered tactics
that could fall under all three constructs of economic abuse.
Three articles included tactics that would fall under the cate-
gories of economic control and economic exploitation. Two
articles included tactics that only covered economic control.
One article included tactics that are categorized as economic
control and employment sabotage. The remaining 26 articles
contained no clear definition of economic abuse or tactics used.
Overall, the construct of economic control received the most
attention in definitions, as every article with a clear definition
either named the construct or included tactics that illustrate this
construct in its definition of economic abuse (n¼20). Such
economic control tactics included: restricting access to
finances, refusing to contribute financially for necessities or
other items, restricting access to financial information or invol-
vement with financial decision-making, and controlling the
household spending. This was followed by economic exploita-
tion (n¼17) and employment sabotage (n¼15). Economic
exploitation included tactics such as misusing family finances;
damaging property; stealing property, money, or identities;
going into debt through coercion or in secret; kicking the victim
out of the living situation; using wealth as a weapon or as a
threat; selling necessary household or personal items; restrict-
ing access to health care or insurance; and denying or
restricting access to transportation. Employment sabotage tac-
tics included anything related to interfering with or preventing
a partner from work.
How Economic/Financial Abuse Is Measured
Researchers used a variety of measures to capture the construct
of economic/financial abuse in their studies. A total of 44
Table 1. Description of Articles.
Country of Origin
United States 17
South Africa 4
Canada and Palestine 3 Each
UK, Ivory Coast, and Philippines 2 Each
Australia, Germany, Iran, Japan, Lebanon, Pakistan,
Nigeria, South Korea, Tanzania, Trinidad, Turkey,
and Zimbabwe
1 Each
Multicountry (Asia and the Pacific) 1
Sample
Victims—female 13
Victims—gay and bisexual male victims 1
Victims—male and female 1
Victims and perpetrators—female and male 3
General sample of women from the community 20
General sample of men from the community 1
General sample of women and men from the community 5
Service providers (lawyers, advocates, or medical
students)
2
Definitions of economic and financial abuse
Included a clear definition 20
Named or described all three constructs (i.e., economic
control, economic exploitation, and employment
sabotage)
14
Named or described two of the three constructs 4
Named or described one of the three constructs
(i.e., economic control)
2
How economic or financial abuse is measured
Used a validated tool to measure economic abuse (SEA or
the SEA-12)
4
Used a validated tool (SEA-12) alongside a general IPV
measurement tool (ABI)
1
Used general IPV measurement tools that included
economic abuse items (i.e., ABI, CCB, DV-FI, CTS,
Abuse Assessment Screen Questionnaire, CBS)
9
Used series of items about economic abuse, ranging
from 1 to 5 questions
Used one question 5
Used two questions 9
Used three questions 6
Used four questions 4
Used five questions 1
Did not use questions but described characteristics of
economic abuse
3
Presented an unclear picture of how economic abuse was
measured
4
Note. n ¼46. ABI ¼Abusive Behavior Inventory; CCB ¼Checklist of Con-
trolling Behaviors; DV-FI ¼Domestic Violence–Related Financial Issues Scale;
CBS ¼Controlling Behaviors Scale; SEA ¼Scale of Economic Abuse; SEA-12 ¼
Scale of Economic Abuse-12; CTS ¼Conflict Tactics Scale.
Postmus et al. 5
Table 2. How Economic Abuse Is Measured and Defined in the Global Peer-Reviewed Literature.
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Adams, A. E., Beeble, M. L., and
Gregory, K. A. (2015)
United States DV and sexual assault agency
93 Female IPV
Victims
Convenience sample
Scale of Economic Abuse (Adams et al., 2008)
28-item, validated measure of economic abuse.
The 5-point Likert-type scale, ranging from never
(0) to quite often (4). Two subscales measuring
economic exploitation (financial ways abusers take
advantage of survivors’) and economic control
(abusers’ efforts to dictate women’s access to
and use of money).
Constructs captured—EC EE ES (ES items captured
under EC subscale)
Set of tactics used to obtain power and control in an
abusive relationship, involving controlling a
woman’s ability to acquire, use and maintain
economic resources, thus threatening her
economic security and potential for self-
sufficiency. Tactics included: regulation of access
to money and financial information, stealing
money, refusing to work, generating debt in their
partner’s name, blaming woman for spending
money on family needs, controlling her earnings,
wasting money, direct and indirect interference
with employment, and coerced debt
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Adams, A. E., Sullivan, C. M., Bybee,
D., and Greeson, M. R. (2008)
United States DV agencies
103 Female IPV victims
Convenience sample
Scale of Economic Abuse, 28-item measure of
economic abuse developed and validated in this
study. The 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from
never (1) to quite often (5), and also including not
applicable (8) and prefer not to answer (9). Two
subscales measuring economic exploitation and
economic control
Constructs captured—EC EE ES (ES items captured
under EC subscale)
Part of the pattern of behaviors used by batterers to
maintain power and control over their partners.
This involves behaviors that control a woman’s
ability to acquire, use, and maintain economic
resources, thus threatening her economic security
and potential for self-sufficiency
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC
Antai, D., Antai, J., and Anthony, D. S.
(2014)
Philippines Households
8,478 Women
Nationally representative sample
Four items chosen by authors. Response options
included: no, often, sometimes, not at all, and yes.
No and not at all were dichotomized to no, and all
other answers were dichotomized to yes. Items
included: (1) disallowed respondent to engage in
legitimate work, (2) controlled respondent’s
money or forced her to work, (3) destroyed
personal property/pet or threatened to harm pet,
and (4) whether respondent had ever lost their
job/source of income because of their husband.
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Form of DV and family violence involving behaviors
that negatively affect a person financially,
undermining efforts to become financially
independent. Behaviors that control the ability to
acquire, use, and maintain economic resources.
Tactics included: prevent from obtaining/
maintaining employment outside the home, cause
her to lose her job or miss work, show up at work
place, harass her at work, harass coworkers—
with motive to interfere with woman’s ability to
acquire resources by preventing her from
maintaining employment, monitoring how existing
resources are used, strictly limiting access to
household resources, denying access to money for
essentials hiding jointly earned money, denying
access to bank accounts, withholding financial
information, destroying property, turning off
utilities, credit card debt, refusing to make
payments on bills
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
(continued)
6
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Antai, D., Oke, A., Braithwaite, P., and
Lopez, G. B. (2014)
Philippines Households
8,478 Women
Stratified, clustered, probability
sample
Four items chosen by authors. Response options
included: no, often, sometimes, not at all, and yes.
No and not at all were dichotomized to no, and all
other answers were dichotomized to yes. Items
included: (1) disallowed respondent to engage in
legitimate work, (2) controlled respondent’s
money or forced her to work, (3) destroyed
personal property/pet or threatened to harm pet,
and (4) whether respondent had ever lost their
job/source of income because of their husband.
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Control of a woman’s ability to acquire, use and
maintain economic resources, threatening
economic security, potential for self-sufficiency,
and economic independence. Coercive behavior
making victim economically dependent on partner
and increasing risk of continued abuse. Tactics
included: take control of resources by preventing
employment outside home, cause job absence or
loss by showing up at work, prevent use of existing
resources by controlling distribution and use, deny
access to joint bank accounts or financial
information, exploit a woman’s resources by
stealing money, creating costs, generating debt
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Awwad, J., Ghazeeri, G, Nassar, A. H.,
Bazi, T., and Fakih, A. (2014)
Lebanon Health clinic
91 Women
Convenience sample
One item chosen by authors: “Does your partner
control home expenditure denying you access to
money?”
Constructs captured—EC
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Falb, K. L., Annan, J., Kpebo, D., Cole,
H., Willie, T., Xuan, Z., Raj, A., and
Gupta, J. (2015)
Ivory Coast Rural villages
682 Female IPV victims w/o
microfinance experience
Community sample
Three items chosen by authors. If participant
responded “yes” to any item, they were coded as
experiencing that form of violence. Items included:
(1) asked the woman if her partner refused to give
her money for household necessities even if there
was money available, (2) took money against her
will, and (3) obliged her to give him all or part of
the money she earned.
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Fawole, O. I., van Wyk, J., and
Adejimi, A. (2013)
Nigeria Medical school setting
109 Medical students (women and
men)
Convenience sample
No information on specific measure or
semistructured interview questions asked to
capture and then quantify economic abuse.
Constructs captured—Unclear
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Fulu, E., Jewkes, R., Roselli, T., and
Garcia-Moreno, C. (2013)
Multicountry—
Asia and
Pacific
Households
10,178 Men
Cluster sample representative of
each of nine sites (multicountry)
Four items chosen by authors. Measured as part of
emotional abuse perpetration using an economic
abuse subscale. Items included: (1) prohibited a
partner from getting a job, going to work, trading,
or earning money, (2) taken a partner’s earnings
against her will, (3) thrown a partner out of the
house, and (4) kept money from your earnings for
alcohol, tobacco, or other things for yourself
when you knew your partner was finding it hard to
afford the household expenses.
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
(continued)
7
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Gaffoor, Z., Wand, H., Street, R. A.,
Abbai, N., and Ramjee, G. (2016)
South Africa Public spaces (health clinics, malls,
churches, taxi stands, community
venues)
1,456 Sexually active, HIV-negative
women
Convenience sample
One item chosen by authors: “Sometimes in
relationships women are abused by their partners.
The abuse can be physical, like hitting or slapping,
emotional like yelling, name-calling or threatening
the children, or economic like taking away or not
giving money. We would like to know if any of
these things are happening to the women we
speak to.” Response was categorized into
economic, emotional, and/or physical abuse.
Constructs captured—EC
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Graham-Kevan, N., and Archer, J.
(2008)
UK DV shelter setting
43 Female IPV victims
College setting
113 College students (women and
men)
Prison
108 Male prisoners
All convenience samples
Four items from the Controlling Behavior Scale
(CBS; Graham-Kevan & Archer, 2003) but did not
specify item details. Five-point Likert-type scale
ranging from never (0) to always (4) to indicate if
and how often any of the behaviors listed were
used to influence their partners.
Constructs captured—unclear in this article (EC and
ES captured in CBS (Graham-Kevan & Archer,
2003)
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Graham-Kevan, N., and Archer, J.
(2003)
UK DV shelter setting
43 Female IPV victims
College setting
113 College students (women and
men)
Prison
108 Male prisoners
All convenience samples
Five items from the Controlling Behaviors Scale
(CBS) developed for this particular study.
Respondents indicated whether they had used any
of the behaviors listed, and then whether their
partner had used any. Five-point Likert-type scale
ranging from never (0) to always (4) to indicate the
occurrence and frequency of controlling acts.
Items included: (1) did you/your partner
disapprove of the other working or studying? (2) if
yes, did you/your partner try to prevent or make
difficult the other working or studying? (3) did
you/your partner feel it was necessary to have
control of the other’s money (e.g., wage, benefit)?
(4) if yes, did you/your partner give the other an
allowance/require other to ask for money? (5) did
you/your partner have knowledge of the family
income?
Constructs captured—EC ES
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Gupta, J., Falb, K. L., Lehmann, H.,
Kpebo, D., Xuan, Z., Hossain, M.,
Zimmerman, C., Watts, C., and
Annan, J. (2013)
Ivory Coast Rural villages
934 Women with partners
Purposive sample
Three items chosen by authors. Dichotomized to
binary summary score, “yes” to any or “no” to all
over past year. Items included: (1) taken money
against her will, (2) refused money for household
necessities, and (3) obliged the woman to give him
all or part of the money she earned
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
(continued)
8
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Haj-Yahia, M. M. (1999) Palestine Households
2,410 Married women
Randomly selected sample
Two items chosen by authors. Part of a 32-item
instrument developed specifically for this survey
to measure psychological, physical, sexual, and
economic abuse. Classical item test theory was
used to create the scales used after data
collection.
Items included: (1) prevented you from using the
family’s money as you see fit and (2) tried to
control your behavior or force you to do what he
wants, while misusing the family’s income and
other resources to do so
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2000a) Palestine Households
1,334 Married women
Randomly selected sample
Two items chosen by authors. Part of a 32-item
instrument developed specifically for this survey
to measure psychological, physical, sexual, and
economic abuse. Classical item test theory was
used to create the scales used after data collection
Items included: (1) prevented you from using the
family’s money as you see fit and (2) tried to
control your behavior or force you to do what he
wants, while misusing the family’s income and
other resources to do so
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2000b) Palestine Households
2,410 Married women
Randomly selected sample
Two items chosen by authors. Part of a 32-item
instrument developed specifically for this survey
to measure psychological, physical, sexual, and
economic abuse. Classical item test theory was
used to create the scales used after data collection
Items included: (1) prevented you from using the
family’s money as you see fit and (2) tried to
control your behavior or force you to do what he
wants, while misusing the family’s income and
other resources to do so
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Harned, M. S. (2001) USA Campus setting
874 Female and male college
students
Randomly selected sample
ABI-12 (Shepard & Campbell, 1992) Unspecified
items from validated, 12-item psychological abuse
subscale of a general abuse measure. Examples
referenced included: (1) restriction of financial
resources and (2) has a dating partner prevented
you from having money for your own use?
Constructs captured—EC
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
(continued)
9
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Huang, C-C., Postmus, J. L., Vikse, J.
H., and Wang, L-R. (2013)
USA Hospital setting
2,107 mothers
Subsample from stratified,
multistage, randomly selected
sample
Two items chosen by authors. Measured (never,
sometimes, or often) over past 12 months. Coded
“yes” if a woman had experienced either of the
two abuse items “often” or “sometimes.” Coded
“no” if a woman reported “never” for both items.
Items included: (1) he tried to prevent you from
going to work and/or school and (2) he withheld
money, made you ask for money, or took your
money
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Defined as including “employment sabotage,
economic control and economic exploitation.”
Defined as distinct from normal patterns of
financial decision-making in relationships due to
nature of control involved. One partner does not
allow the other any say in financial decisions,
controls her work activities and use of income,
ruins credit as means to increase financial
dependence
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Huang, C-C., Vikse, J. H., Lu, S., and
Yi, S. (2015)
USA Hospital setting
2,410 Mothers
Subsample from stratified,
multistage, randomly selected
sample
Two items chosen by authors. Frequency that father
had committed these types of behaviors measured
(never, sometimes, or often) over past 12 months.
Coded “yes” if a woman had experienced either of
the two abuse items “often” or “sometimes.”
Coded “no” if a woman reported “never” for both
items. Items included: (1) he tried to prevent you
from going to work and/or school and (2) he
withheld money, made you ask for money, or took
your money
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Jewkes, R., Penn-Kekana, L., Levin, J.,
Ratsaka, M., and Schrieber, M.
(2000)
South Africa Households
1,306 Women
Stratified, multistage, randomly
selected sample
Three items chosen by authors, measured as part of
emotional abuse in past year. Items included: (1)
prevented from working, (2) partner has not
provided money to run the home or look after
children but has money for other things, and (3)
eviction from home.
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Jewkes, R. K., Levin, J. B., and Penn-
Kekana, L. A. (2003)
South Africa Households
1,164 Women
Stratified, multistage, randomly
selected sample
Two items chosen by authors. Items included: (1)
having not been given money to run the home
when her partner had money for other things and
(2) having her earnings taken by her partner
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Joyner, K., and Mash, R. J. (2011) South Africa Rural health clinics
168 Female IPV victims
Convenience sample from
purposefully selected sites
Three items chosen by authors. Items included: (1)
withholding money, (2) controlling decisions, or
(3) taking money
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No mention of tactics
3) No constructs captured
Kapiga, S., Harvey, S., Muhammad, A.
K., Stockl, H., Mshana, G., Hashim,
R., Hansen, C., Lees, S., and Watts,
C. (2017)
Tanzania Microfinance/loan groups
1,049 Women
Convenience sample
Three items chosen by authors. Severity determined
based on number of “yes” answers. Items
included: (1) refuses to give you enough money for
household expenses, even when he has money for
other things, (2) takes money that you have
earned away from you, and (3) makes important
financial decisions without consulting you
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No mention of tactics
3) No constructs captured
(continued)
10
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Kutin, J., Russell, R., and Reid, M.
(2017)
Australia Community
13,307 Women and 3,743 Men
Randomly selected sample
Five items chosen by authors. Lifetime abuse
measured with dichotomous yes/no response
options. Items included: (1) partner stopped or
tried to stop you knowing about or having access
to her/his money, (2) partner stopped or tried to
stop you from working or earning money or
studying, (3) partner deprived you of basic needs
(e.g., food, shelter, sleep, assistive aids), (4)
Partner damaged, destroyed or stole any of your
property, and (5) partner stopped or tried to stop
you from using the telephone, Internet or family
car.
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Form of IPV involving behaviors aimed at
manipulating a person’s access to finances, assets,
and decision-making to foster dependence and
control. Economic control, economic
exploitation, and employment sabotage identified
as three dimensions comprising the overall
construct
1) Clearly defined
2) No tactics mentioned
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Lehmann, P., Simmons, C. A., and
Pillai, V. K. (2012)
USA Shelter setting
2,135 Female IPV victims
Convenience sample
Checklist of Controlling Behaviors (CCB) tool used
to assess for coercive control in violent
relationships developed and validated in this study.
Seven-item subscale measuring economic abuse.
The 5-point Likert-type response style scale
ranging from never (1) to very frequently (5).
Items included: (1) did not allow me equal access
to family money; (2) told me or acted as if it was
his money, his house, his car, and so on, (3)
threatened to withhold money from me, (4) made
me ask for money for basic necessities; (5) used
my fear of not having access to money to control
my behavior, (6) made me account for the money I
spent, and (7) tried to keep me dependent on him
for money
Constructs captured—EC EE
Refers to “withholding money” as routine barrier
used to entrap, isolate, and control a survivor.
Economic coercion and threats to withhold
financial means for food or household expense
referenced
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE
Littwin, A. (2012) USA Personal contacts/DV e-mail lists/
coalitions
55 DV lawyers/advocates
Snowball sample
Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (Murray Straus et al.,
1996). Two items from validated measure of abuse
addressing economic abuse. Items included: (1)
vandalize your property or destroy something you
loved, causing you to be frightened or fear bodily
harm and (2) stand outside your home, school, or
workplace
Constructs captured—EE ES
Financial control, employment sabotage, control
over family finances, restricted access to
knowledge about finances. Tactics used as
foundation that allows for coerced debt to occur,
where victim has decreased ability to prevent
transactions to which she does not consent. This
includes credit fraud and theft as well as
intimidation/threats/violence that keep victim
from confronting abuser with issues of credit fraud
or other forms of coerced debt
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
(continued)
11
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Merrill, G. S., and Wolfe, V. (2000) USA DV and HIV agencies serving men of
color
52 gay/bisexual male IPV victims
Convenience sample
Unclear set of items created by authors. Not all
items detailed. Those described are as follows: (1)
damaging property which belonged to respondent,
(2) harassing respondent at work or school, (3)
causing respondent to miss work or school, (4)
calling and visiting respondent at work or school
excessively, (5) making respondent feel he was
entitled to respondents’ financial support, (6)
refusing to contribute to his portion of expenses,
and (7) significantly interrupting work, education
and/or career development
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Forcing economic dependence, preventing the victim
from accessing financial resources, destroying
property, restricting partners from attending
school, working, accessing any source of
independent income, damaging or stealing
property, using superior wealth as a weapon
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Nagassar, R. P., Rawlins, J. M.,
Sampson, N. R., Zackerali, J.,
Chankadyal, K., Ramasir, C., and
Boodram, R. (2010)
Trinidad Households
290 Women
Stratified, randomly selected
sample
No measurement information included
1) Unclear set of items created by authors
2) Not validated
3) Constructs captured—unclear
The withholding or deprivation of funds for essential
needs, gambling away the housekeeping money,
purposely building debts and selling of necessary
household items.
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE
Outlaw, M. (2009) USA Phone survey
11,291 Women and men with
partners
Subsample of nationally
representative, randomly
selected sample
One item chosen by authors. Dichotomous yes/no as
to whether respondents’ current partner prevents
him/her from knowing about or having access to
family income, even when s/he asks. Question on
survey about prohibiting work outside the home
was not included in analysis as author states this
could be representative of either economic or
social abuse.
Constructs captured—EC
Imposed economic dependence of the abused by the
abuser, possible outright stealing by abuser.
Abuser decides when and if survivor gets money
even if she earns it and how much she gets.
Inadequate amount of money given, survivor has
to ask for more, steal or borrow from others to
meet basic needs
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE
Poole, C., and Rietschlin, J. (2012) Canada Phone survey
Unspecified number of female and
male IPV victims over age 60
Nationally representative,
randomly selected sample
Two items chosen by authors. Items included: (1)
partner damages or destroys your possessions or
property, and (2) prevents you from knowing
about or having access to the family income, even
if you ask.
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Postmus, J. L., Huang, C. C., Stylianou,
A. M. (2012)
USA Hospital setting
2,305 Mothers involved with
fathers of their children 1-year
post baseline
Subsample from stratified,
multistage, randomly selected
sample
Two items chosen by author. Items included: (1) He
withheld money, made you ask for money or took
your money, and (2) He tried to prevent you from
going to work and/or school.
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Includes employment sabotage, economic control,
and economic exploitation
1) Clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
(continued)
12
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Postmus, J. L., Plummer, S., McMahon,
S., Murshid, N. S., and Kim, M-S.
(2012)
USA DV agencies
120 female IPV victims
Convenience sample
Scale of Economic Abuse-12 (SEA-12; Postmus et al.,
2016). Validated revision of the Scale of Economic
Abuse (SEA; Adams et al., 2008). Five-point Likert-
type scale ranging from never (1) to quite often (5).
Twelve items comprising three factors named
economic control (5 items), employment sabotage
(4 items), and economic exploitation (3 items)
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Defined as efforts of abuser to make partner
economically dependent, controling her ability to
become self-sufficient, accomplished by
maintaining complete control over money and
other economic resources by making all financial
decisions, reducing ability to acquire, use, and
maintain money, and/or by forcing her to rely on
abuser for all of financial needs. Tactics identified
include forms of employment sabotage, coerced
debt, institutional barriers to reinforce economic
control and exploitation
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Postmus, J. L., Plummer, S. B., and
Stylianou, A. M. (2016)
USA DV agencies
120 female IPV victims
Convenience sample
Scale of Economic Abuse-12 (SEA-12) developed and
validated in this study. Revision of the Scale of
Economic Abuse (SEA; Adams et al., 2008). Five-
point Likert-type scale ranging from never (1) to
quite often (5). Exploratory factor analysis resulted
in the 28-item SEA being reduced to 12 items
comprising three factors named economic control
(5 items), employment sabotage (4 items), and
economic exploitation (3 items)
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Strategies including economic exploitation,
economic control and employment sabotage that
hinder economic self-sufficiency and damage
economic self-efficacy. Tactics preventing
women’s resource acquisition, preventing
women’s resource use, and exploiting women’s
resources
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Rabbani, F., Qureshi, F., and Rizvi, N.
(2008)
Pakistan Community-based health and
development program
108 female IPV victims
Convenience sample
No information on specific measure or
semistructured interview questions used. In
results, economic abuse is referred to as
economic control including: withholding money
from victim, refusing to meet household expenses,
stealing valuable assets such as personal jewelry,
land, and so on. Unclear whether these were
predetermined categories or if they were
qualitative responses that were quantified
Constructs captured—unclear
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Romans, S. Forte, T., Cohen, M. M.,
Du Mont, J., and Hyman, I. (2007)
Canada Phone survey
17,005 women and men with
current or ex-partner
Nationally representative,
randomly selected sample
One item chosen by authors. Dichotomous yes/no
response options. Measured using the following
item: “Has your partner prevented you from
knowing about or having access to the family
income, even if you asked?”
Constructs captured—EC
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Sahraian, A., Ghanizadeh, A.,
Hashemi, S. H., Mohammadi, M. R.,
and Ahmadzadeh, L. (2015)
Iran Psychiatric inpatient program
209 women married to psychiatric
patients
Convenience sample
Four items chosen by authors. Five-point Likert style
scale, ranging from never to always. Items
included: (1) not giving money for the expenses to
the wife, (2) constant control over her expenses,
(3) not telling her about his income, and 4)
opposing to her having a job
Constructs captured—EC ES
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
(continued)
13
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Sanders, C. K. (2014) USA Matched savings program for IPV
survivors
125 female IPV victims
Convenience sample
Unclear set of items created by authors. Methods
state that “history of economic abuse” was
gathered from shelter intake. No further details
on measurement of construct or questions used
Constructs captured—unclear
Variety of tactics that negatively affect women
financially and undermine efforts to become
financially independent, including behaviors that
restrict woman’s ability to pursue education or
gain or maintain employment. Abuser also
restricts, monitors, or completely controls access
to financial resources
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC ES
Selek, S., Vural, M., and Cakmak, I.
(2012)
Turkey University teaching hospital setting
96 female IPV victims employed as
nurses
Convenience sample
Modified Abuse Assessment Screen Questionnaire.
No specific details provided regarding
measurement questions in screening tool related
to economic abuse
Constructs captured—unclear
Described as “prevention of working, making money,
buying, selling or seizure of revenues of someone.”
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Simmons, C. A., Lehmann, P., and
Collier-Tenison, S. (2008)
USA Offenders program
77 female IPV perpetrators
Convenience sample
DV shelter setting
2,135 female IPV victims
Convenience sample
Seven items from economic abuse subscale in
Checklist of Controlling Behaviors (CCB;
Lehmann, 1998). Validated 84-item measure used
to assess for coercive control in violent
relationships. Five-point Likert style scale ranging
from never (1) to very frequently (5). Items
included: (1) did not allow me equal access to
family money, (2) told me or acted as if it was his
money, his house, his car, and so on, (3)
threatened to withhold money from me, (4) made
me ask for money for basic necessities, (5) used
my fear of not having access to money to control
my behavior, (6) made me account for the money I
spent, and (7) tried to keep me dependent on him
for money
Constructs captured—EC EE
1. Not clearly defined
2. No tactics included
3. No constructs captured
Stockl, H., and Penhale, B. (2015) Germany Community registration lists
10,263 women
Nationally representative,
randomly selected sample
Three items from validated 33-question tool that
also addressed emotional abuse and controlling
behavior. Items included: (1) partner controls
exactly how much money I spend on what, (2)
makes me feel that I am financially dependent on
him, and (3) does not let me decide about money
or things I want to buy by myself
Constructs captured—EC
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
(continued)
14
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Stylianou, A. M., Postmus, J. L., and
McMahon, S. (2013)
USA DV agencies
457 female IPV victims
Convenience sample
SEA-12 (Postmus, Plummer, & Stylianou, 2016)
measuring economic abuse. Three subscales
named Economic Control (5 items—monitoring/
restricting woman’s ability to freely use
resources), Employment Sabotage (4 items—
blocking employment or restricting ability to
obtain resources via employment), and Economic
Exploitation (3 items—depletion of funds and/or
creation of debt or ruining of credit)
Two economic abuse questions from psychological
abuse subscale of validated Abusive Behavior
Index (ABI; Shepard & Campbell, 1992). Items
included: (1) prevented you from having money
for your own use and (2) put you on an allowance
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Using means to control survivor that hinder her
economic self-sufficiency and damage her
economic self-efficacy. Description includes
preventing her from working, harassing her at
work, ruining her credit score, demanding that she
account for all expenses, making unilateral
decisions. These actions result in women
becoming economically dependent on partner
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Um, M. Y., Kim, H. J., and Palinkas, L.
A. (2016)
South Korea Households
180 ever-married refugee women
Snowball sample
Three items in a validated, Modified Conflict Tactics
Scale. Dichotomized yes/no response options.
Items included: (1) my partner deprived me of
money to buy necessities, (2) my partner disposed
of property without my consent, and (3) my
partner took full control of income and expenses
Constructs captured—EC EE
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Voth Schrag, R. J. (2015) USA Hospital setting
2,777 mothers who were also IPV
victims
Subsample from stratified,
multistage, randomly selected
sample
Two items chosen by author. Measured
dichotomously, with “sometimes” and “often” as
“yes.” Items included: (1) How often did/does
partner try to keep you from going to work or
school? and (2) How often did/does partner
withhold money, make you ask for money or take
your money?
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Tactics used to create barriers to economic security
including destroying credit, stealing financial
resources, limiting participation in economic
decision-making. Additional tactics described
include sabotaging employment; making economic
threats; limiting, destroying, and controlling
woman’s access to economic resources;
preventing her participation in economic life and
decisions of the family; deliberate sabotaging of
resources; destroying credit; preventing ability to
obtain and maintain employment or credentials,
and stealing money or property
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Watts, C., Keogh, E., Ndlovu, M., and
Kwaramba, R. (1998)
Zimbabwe Households
966 women
Nationally representative,
randomly selected sample
Unclear set of items created by authors. Described
on questionnaire as “being prevented from going
to work, thrown out of the home, not given
available support money.” No clear information
about specific items used to measure construct
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
(continued)
15
Table 2. (continued)
Study Country Sample (Location, Gender, Type) How Economic Abuse Is Measured How Economic Abuse Is Defined
Weaver, T., Sanders, C. K., Campbell,
C. L., and Schnabel, M. (2009)
USA DV shelter setting
113 female IPV victims
Convenience sample
Domestic Violence–Related Financial Issues Scale
(DV-FI) developed and validated in this study.
Economic Abuse subscale included the following
items: (1) credit card debt has played a role in my
previous experiences of partner violence, (2) my
partner prevented me from having access to
money, (3) my partner negatively affected my
credit rating, (4) my partner negatively affected my
credit card debt, (5) my partner prevented me
from obtaining necessary skills or education to
obtain adequate employment
Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Tactics that negatively affect women financially and
undermine their efforts to become economically
independent. Tactics included: restricting access
to money, controlling or limiting ability to pursue
education, or gain and maintain employment,
exploiting financial resources that is, debt, stealing
money
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics included
3) Constructs captured—EC EE ES
Yoshihama, M. (1994) Japan Mail survey distributed via women’s
groups, social service providers,
attorneys, local and national
newspaper ads
796 women
Convenience sample
One item chosen by authors under emotional abuse
that addresses economic neglect: “Partner failing
to provide financially when he was able to do so.”
Constructs captured—EC
1) Not clearly defined
2) No tactics included
3) No constructs captured
Zamorski, M. A., and Wiens-Kinkaid,
M. E. (2013)
Canada Canadian Armed Forces
management system
1,745 Partnered female and male
military personnel with a partner
Randomly selected sample
Unclear set of items, potentially including (1)
Preventing knowledge of access to family income
and (2) Damaged or destroyed possessions or
property
Constructs captured—EC EE
“Preventing access to family income” given as
example of economic abuse
1) Clearly defined
2) Tactics mentioned
3) EC
16
articles used quantitative measures to examine the construct of
economic abuse, while two articles using mixed methods did
not use a specific quantitative measure and presented descrip-
tive statistics based on quantified qualitative data. Of the arti-
cles that used a specific measure to capture economic abuse,
most used measures that covered all three constructs (n¼17).
This was followed by articles using measures covering both
economic control and economic exploitation (n¼14), and then
by articles using measures that only captured economic control
(n¼6). Three articles used measures capturing both economic
control and employment sabotage. One article used a measure
capturing economic exploitation and employment sabotage.
Three articles did not provide specific measurement informa-
tion. Overall, economic control received the most attention
across measures used in articles (n¼40). This was followed
by economic exploitation (n¼32) and then employment sabo-
tage (n¼21).
Researchers quantified economic abuse in the following
ways: used a specific validated tool, included economic abuse
items within a broader IPV measurement tool, or identified
economic abuse through a number of questions not in any
measurement tool. Five articles used validated tools that spe-
cifically measured the construct of economic abuse. Two of
these articles used the SEA, which captures and explicitly
names the constructs of economic control and economic
exploitation. Two of these articles used the SEA-12, a revised
version of the SEA, which captures and names as such the
constructs of economic control, economic exploitation, and
employment sabotage.
A number of articles used general IPV measurement tools
that also included items that capture the construct of economic
abuse. In each case, these items were representative of a com-
bination of economic control, economic exploitation, and/or
employment sabotage but were not named as such. One of these
articles used the ABI Psychological Abuse subscale-12, in
which economic abuse was a subscale of psychological abuse,
capturing the construct of economic control. The Checklist of
Controlling Behaviors was used in two articles and included an
economic abuse subscale capturing economic control and eco-
nomic exploitation. The DV-FI was used in one article and
included a subscale for economic abuse that captured all three
constructs. Two articles used different revised versions of the
Conflict Tactics Scale, one covering the constructs of eco-
nomic control and economic exploitation, and the other cover-
ing the constructs of economic exploitation and employment
sabotage. One article used a modified form of the Abuse
Assessment Screen Questionnaire but did not provide detail
about the question(s) that addressed economic abuse. Two arti-
cles used the Controlling Behaviors Scale including items that
captured the constructs of economic control and employment
sabotage.
Some articles did not use specific tools to measure economic
abuse but instead included a series of items chosen by the
researchers to represent the construct. Five articles used only
1 item to measure economic abuse. The item in each of these
five articles captured economic control. Nine articles used a
series of 2 items to measure the overall construct. Five of these
articles used items that captured economic control and eco-
nomic exploitation. Four of these articles included items that
captured economic control, economic exploitation, and
employment sabotage. Six articles used a series of 3 items in
their measurement of economic abuse. One article captured
only economic control. Four articles included items that
addressed economic control and economic exploitation. One
article captured economic control, economic exploitation, and
employment sabotage in its 3-item measure. Four articles used
a series of 4 items to measure economic abuse, with one of
these articles focusing on economic control and employment
sabotage, and the other three focusing on economic control,
economic exploitation, and employment sabotage. One article
used a series of 5 items to measure the overall construct. This
measure included items that captured economic control, eco-
nomic exploitation, and employment sabotage.
Three articles did not state the individual items used in their
measure of economic abuse, but one article described charac-
teristics of the measure that captured economic control and
economic exploitation in the findings. The other two articles
captured the constructs of economic control, economic exploi-
tation, and employment sabotage. Four articles presented an
unclear picture of how economic abuse was measured. Two
of these articles stated that they used quantitative tools to mea-
sure economic abuse but provided no specific information on
the items or tools used. The other two articles presenting an
unclear picture used mixed methods in data collection and
analysis and provided descriptive statistics on quantified qua-
litative data; however, they did not provide details on any
specific quantitative measure used in data collection.
Discussion
This global review of the literature provides answers to our
research questions as to how researchers define and measure
economic or financial abuse when examining IPV. The review
resulted in a large number of peer-reviewed articles coming
from countries representing almost all of the continents
(excluding Antarctica). However, the number of articles iden-
tified (n¼46) is considerably small in comparison to the
number of articles that would likely be identified in a global
review focused on physical or sexual violence.
Our review suggests there is growing clarity and consistency
of terminologies being used in these articles, as well as evi-
dence that economic abuse can be conceptualized as a separate
category from emotional abuse. However, further clarity is
needed as to whether economic abuse and financial abuse are
the same phenomenon and are therefore interchangeable or if
they are different but related concepts in the context of IPV.
Most of the articles focused on the same aspects of economic
abuse including economic exploitation, economic control, and
employment sabotage. Yet it is reasonable to question whether
there are other aspects of economic or financial abuse that are
yet to be included in measures of these forms of abuse. Indeed,
further research is needed that is guided by the marital
Postmus et al. 17
dependence theory (Vyas & Watts, 2008) and the interdepen-
dence theory (Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003) which suggest that
a survivor’s increased financial dependence on an partner
increases her risk for experiencing abuse. Thus, to better under-
stand how and to what extent survivors’ increased access to
economic resources might lead to increased independence from
abusive relationships, we might also need to learn about the
modes of financial entrapment that are used to restrict eco-
nomic resources beyond those included as part of any measure-
ment used. The limited number of specific questions addressing
economic or financial abuse included in large-scale surveys
may well influence our understanding of perpetrator strategies
simply because we ask respondents to identify a limited range
of abusive behaviors.
Additionally, our analysis identified studies that primarily,
but not exclusively, focused on females as victims of economic
abuse. A few studies included heterosexual, gay, and bisexual
male victims from different settings including college cam-
puses, prisons, general communities, HIV agencies, and
domestic violence agencies. More research is needed to deter-
mine whether economic abuse, like other forms of IPV, is a
gendered phenomenon as well as to determine the prevalence
of economic abuse with a wide range of samples that include
both genders and different sexual orientations as victims and
perpetrators.
Our review also identified some consistency in the use of
validated measures including the SEA with 28 items or the
shortened SEA-12 version with 12 items (see Appendix A for
these two measures). Although used more frequently in studies
in the United States, questions remain as to the use of these
scales in other countries or in other languages. It is also of
interest as to whether other distinct questions measuring eco-
nomic or financial abuse would be more culturally relevant in
Hong Kong, for example, than those found to measure the
construct in the United States. It is clear that gender does matter
when considering cultural differences in the definition and
manifestation of economic abuse. For example, in a Chinese
population study of sociodemographic factors in domestic vio-
lence, Cao, Yang, Wang, and Zhang (2014) stressed the impor-
tance of cultural context, pointing to the sharp division of
gender roles and responsibility for financial matters being the
province of male family members based on Confucian philo-
sophy. Hence, this cultural context fundamentally contributes
to gender inequality and particular behavioral forms of IPV.
Further testing is needed to determine the impact of cultural
and linguistic nuances, particularly in the administration of
surveys where there is no opportunity to clarify or reframe a
question. For example, the SEA-12 is currently being adminis-
tered in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand to
test its cultural utility.
Additionally, conceptual clarity is needed when considering
use of the terms financial and economic abuse with other spe-
cific population groups such as older people. We purposefully
removed articles about economic exploitation or abuse among
the elderly in nonintimate relationships since such abuse is not
entirely the same as IPV. Conceptually, it is important to
distinguish between IPV with older couples and elder abuse
where the perpetrator is not the survivor’s partner. This is
pertinent as some research has suggested that the “patterning”
of abuse may change over the length of the relationship, with
physical abuse decreasing and emotional, financial, and sexual
abuse increasing with age over time (Bows, 2015). Such abuse
by an intimate partner would be a fundamentally different phe-
nomenon to abuse occurring in older age from a family member
or caregiver. Further exploration is needed to better understand
the intersection between economic abuse that is perpetrated
within an intimate relationship and age, as well as potential
differences when perpetrated by extended family members and
caregivers.
This review, while thorough in its efforts to unearth as many
articles as possible, was narrowly focused on the measurement
of economic and financial abuse. This review may also not
have found all articles due to differences in terminology. Addi-
tionally, this review only captured English language articles;
there may be research on economic or financial abuse pub-
lished in other languages (e.g., Spanish or Mandarin). We only
included peer-reviewed articles with full or partial quantitative
focus; additional work is needed to examine the gray literature,
conceptual articles, and qualitative articles. Australia is an
example of a country where the work on economic abuse and
economic security is primarily funded by government and sub-
sequently appears in the gray literature as opposed to peer-
reviewed publications.
Finally, it would be useful to establish at what point and in
which contexts the gendered division of the management of
financial resources and economic opportunities in intimate
relationships actually becomes financial control and abuse.
There is literature (mostly in the financial realm) about the
difference between financial management (i.e., paying bills and
managing households) and financial control (i.e., making deci-
sions around how money is spent). However, less is known
about this difference in the context of IPV, or in varied cultural
contexts where gender role expectations may directly influence
what is understood as economic or financial abuse, or not.
Implications
This review of the peer-reviewed literature provides a frame-
work that IPV researchers should consider when studying,
naming, and measuring economic or financial abuse. Since this
research is in its “infancy,” there are some key strategies for
developing knowledge and evidence in the future. The emer-
ging framework presented includes three main categories of
tactics; in furthering research in this area, it is worth consider-
ing whether there are tactics of economic abuse that we have
yet to identify. For example, the development of digital tech-
nologies has increased the types of surveillance tactics that
perpetrators now employ as part of their coercive control; there
may be economic abuse tactics that are yet to be identified as
such. To strengthen the research, we need to have stronger
collaborative efforts to use similar measures and terminology.
Part of that collaborative effort is to consider how language and
18 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE XX(X)
cultural differences may play a part in our understanding of
economic or financial abuse. There is also a need to collect
prevalence data and to study the impact of economic abuse in
the short term AND long term for victims. Research is also
needed to better understand how perpetrators use economic
or financial abuse as part of their overall strategy to control
partners (Table 3)
Additionally, there is a need to focus on economic or finan-
cial abuse in practice settings. Such focus should include
ensuring that practitioners have the relevant knowledge and
skills for assessing and responding to economic abuse, devel-
oping and testing interventions that address economic or
financial abuse, and improving survivors’ economic security.
There is evidence suggesting that women may not always iden-
tify their experiences of financial control and abuse or distin-
guish these from their experience of gendered financial
management. Hence, it is crucial that advocates are clear of these
distinctions and work with women to make transparent the per-
petrator’s use of strategies and tactics of economic and financial
abuse. Several studies exist that evaluate economic empower-
ment programs or financial literacy programs (Postmus, Hetling,
& Hoge, 2015; Sanders, Weaver, & Schnabel, 2007); however,
these studies are limited to the United States and are limited in
their scope of program materials. Further research is needed to
determine whether improving ones financial knowledge
decreases the impact of experiencing economic or financial
abuse as it does on improving survivors’ access to resources,
economic self-efficacy, or economic self-sufficiency.
Finally, economic abuse can cause severe material depriva-
tion for women and can prevent them from becoming econom-
ically secure and independent (Corrie, 2016). Economic abuse
most often results in a lack of financial resources making it
difficult to leave a violent relationship and providing the impetus
for some women to feel they have no choice but to return to that
relationship (McLaren, 2013). The theories of marital depen-
dency and interdependence (Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003; Vyas
& Watts, 2008) could provide greater understanding into how
economic abuse is used by abusers to trap their partners in the
relationship. As with all manifestations of IPV, economic abuse
affects women from all socioeconomic groups and geographic
locations. However, there is no doubt that intersections of
vulnerability include disability, older people, indigeneity, and
certain cultural, racial, or ethnic backgrounds.
Appendix A
The Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA) and the SEA-12
Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA).
Adams, A. E., Sullivan, C. M., Bybee, D., & Greeson, M. R.
(2008). Development of the scale of economic abuse.
Violence Against Women,14, 563–588.
I’m going to go through a list of things some individuals do
to hurt their partner or ex-partner financially. Could you tell
me, to the best of your recollection, how frequently your part-
ner or ex-partner has done any of the following things in the last
12 months. Your answer can range from 1 to 5. 1 ¼never,
2¼hardly ever,3¼sometimes,4¼Often,5¼Quite often.
Scale of Economic Abuse-12 (SEA-12).
Postmus, J. L., Plummer, S. B., & Stylianou, A. M. (2016).
Measuring economic abuse in the lives of survivors:
Revising the scale of economic abuse. Violence Against
Women, 22, 692–703.
I’m going to go through a list of things some individuals do
to hurt their partner or ex-partner financially. Could you tell
Table 3. Implications.
For research Further clarity and refinement is needed to determine
whether economic abuse and financial abuse are the
same phenomenon and therefore are
interchangeable or if they are different but related
concepts in the context of IPV
Further testing of measurements are needed to
determine if all aspects of economic or financial
abuse are included in current measures
Further testing of the SEA or the SEA-12 is needed to
determine if relevant for use in other countries and
cultural contexts
Further clarity is needed to determine the impact that
gender and gender roles around financial
management play in our understanding of economic
abuse
Greater clarity is needed when considering use of the
terms financial and economic abuse with other
specific population groups such as older people
Need stronger collaborative efforts to use similar
measures and terminology
Need prevalence data
Need to determine the patterns of impact of
economic abuse in the short term and long term for
victims
Need to better understand how perpetrators use
economic or financial abuse as part of their overall
strategy to control partners during the relationship
and after separation
For practice Greater focus on economic abuse and its continuing
consequences for victims
Greater awareness of economic abuse is needed as
victims may not always identify their experiences of
financial control and abuse
Interventions are needed to address economic abuse
and improve economic security
Practitioners and advocates in specialist IPV and
mainstream human services should have knowledge
and skills to assess and respond to economic abuse
Financial institutions and other relevant organizations
be encouraged to continue to develop policies and
practices that take account of women’s
circumstances of economic abuse when they are
seeking credit or paying for debts incurred
Jurisdictions should include economic or financial
abuse in the legal definitions of IPV
Postmus et al. 19
me, to the best of your recollection, how frequently your
partner or ex-partner has done any of the following things
in the last 12 months. Your answer can range from 1 to 5.
1¼never,2¼hardly ever,3¼sometimes,4¼often,
5¼quite often.
Authors’ Note
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs is now affiliated to Surviving Economic Abuse in
London, UK.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Funding
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The work
for this manuscript was funded by the Rutgers University, Rutgers
Global.
Notes
1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women does not explicitly mention violence against
women (VAW) but general recommendations 12 and 19 that clar-
ify the convention includes VAW and makes detailed recommen-
dations to state parties.
2. The convention on preventing and combating VAW and domestic
violence (later known as the Istanbul Convention) was adopted by
the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on April 7, 2011.
Following its 10th ratification by Andorra on April 22, 2014, it
entered into force on August 1, 2014. Retrieved September 11,
2016, from https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchSer
vices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId¼090000168046031c
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Author Biographies
Judy L. Postmus, PhD, ACSW, is a professor at the School of Social
Work, Rutgers University. Her research is on physical, sexual, and
economic victimization experiences of women with her most recent
attention given to developing a violence against women research con-
sortium, funded by the National Institute of Justice (2016-MU-CX-
K011). She is also the director of the Center on Violence Against
Women & Children. She has given many local, national, and interna-
tional presentations on the impact of policies and interventions for
survivors of violence. Her work is strongly influenced from her 20
years as a practitioner and administrator.
Gretchen L. Hoge, PhD, MSW, is an assistant professor of social
work at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL and a faculty affiliate at
the Center on Violence Against Women & Children at Rutgers Uni-
versity. Her research explores the experiences of immigrant survivors
of intimate partner violence in varied cultural contexts, as well as the
evaluation of policies and programs addressing gender-based violence
and the development of healthy relationships. She has experience
working in the areas of community outreach and education, policy
practice, and direct practice with survivors of intimate partner vio-
lence and their children.
Jan Breckenridge, PhD, is the deputy head of school (research) in the
School of Social Sciences at UNSW Sydney, Australia. She was
instrumental in the establishment of the gendered violence research
network (GVRN) at UNSW, is the co-convenor of the GVRN. She has
a commitment to action and other participatory strategies of research
engagement and has undertaken extensive work and research in the
areas of trauma, domestic and sexual violence and child abuse, and
gender justice. Her research provides a focus for her commitment to
developing evidence-informed practice in these areas.
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, PhD, is the founder and director of surviving
economic abuse, a nonprofit organization in the UK whose mission
is to raise awareness of economic abuse and build the capacity of those
who come into contact with victims and survivors to respond. She has
been working in the violence against women and girls sector since
2006. In 2016, she was made a winston churchill fellow and travelled
to the U.S. and Australia to explore innovative responses to economic
abuse.
Donna Chung, PhD, is a professor of social work and social policy at
Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She has been involved in social
work education and social research for over 20 years undertaking
various teaching, research and management roles within higher
education. Her research interests are primarily the areas of male vio-
lence against women, homelessness, gender and sexuality and social
policy. She has worked on various research projects in these areas and
provides advice and consultancy to governments on policies and pro-
grams in these areas.
Postmus et al. 23
... Studies with both convenience and population-based samples were included in the review. The decision was made to include studies from 2000 or later because the term "economic abuse" was rarely used in the literature before that time [17]. Literature written in English was selected given the costs associated with translation [15]. ...
... In March 2022, an updated search was conducted using five primary databases (i.e., Social Service Abstracts, ProQuest Social Science Collection, Medline, PubMed, Criminal Justice Abstracts) to include articles published in 2020 and 2021 that may have been missed during the first search; 187 articles were identified. The authors also reviewed the reference lists of three review articles [6,17,18] for additional publications for possible inclusion; six were identified. As such, a total of 3665 were imported for screening. ...
... For example, four different variations of the original Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA) were used: the original SEA [2]; the Scale of Economic Abuse-12 (SEA-12), which is an abbreviated version of the original scale [52]; the Chinese translation of the SEA-12 [50]; and the SEA2, which is a revised version of the SEA [21]. Half (17) of the articles did not use any validated measure of economic abuse. As Postmus et al. point out, it is necessary for researchers to continue to validate measures of economic abuse among diverse populations to determine whether all aspects of economic abuse are accurately represented and that the measures being used are relevant across different cultural contexts [86]. ...
Article
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Background Economic abuse is a unique form of intimate partner violence (IPV) and includes behaviors that control a survivor’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain resources. These tactics can result in someone becoming economically dependent on their partner and may limit their ability to leave the relationship and establish independence. The aim of this study was to conduct a scoping review focused on the impact of economic abuse on survivors of IPV. Methods A total of 14 databases were reviewed, which resulted in 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in the study. Manuscripts were included if they were: written in English, published since the year 2000, focused specifically on the impact of economic abuse perpetrated by an intimate partner, economic abuse was measured as an independent variable, and if economic abuse was looked at separately from other forms of IPV. Both convenience and population-based samples were included in the review. Information was extracted using a data charting form. The data were analyzed using a combination of grouping techniques and constant comparison methods to identify key findings. Results Studies found significant associations between economic abuse and a range of outcomes, such as mental and physical health, financial impacts, parent-child interactions, and quality of life. The most frequently examined were mental health, followed by financial issues. Conclusions Limitations of these studies included a lack of longitudinal research and a focus on heterosexual relationships with male-perpetrated violence toward female survivors. Study findings highlight the wide-ranging potential impacts of economic abuse on survivors and the need for additional research to better understand potential outcomes and implement and evaluate interventions to address them.
... Even though her partner stole from her and demanded her pay packet in front of customers, she noted: "…I wasn't even aware that finances were part of the abuse. " (Janet, WMG, age [40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49]. ...
... I was quite surprised they asked about gambling, I thought to myself "this service knows what they are doing", and they didn't judge or criticise me when I told them about my gambling. " (Carol, WWG, age [40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49] Finding free services, such as counselling and gambling help services, was particularly valued by women in this study. Economic abuse had left many women with no spare funds hence the cost and accessibility of some services often deterred women from seeking help. ...
... That's the wonderful thing in that, and these people…When I told my story to people who understood, oh god, it's better than gold. " (Anna, WMG, age [40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49] ...
Article
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Background While problem gambling does not directly cause intimate partner violence (IPV), it exacerbates that violence significantly. Women experiencing both gambling harm and IPV often find themselves in challenging situations; furthermore, stigma and shame frequently act as barriers to seeking help from health and social service agencies. Despite the links between problem gambling and IPV, little is known about women’s experiences of using support services for both IPV and gambling related issues. This paper explores positive experiences of help-seeking for gambling-related IPV in Australia by adopting a strengths-based research approach. Methods Qualitative, unstructured interviews were conducted for a larger study exploring the nature of the relationship between problem gambling and IPV. To gain new insights into the service experiences of women impacted by gambling related IPV, interviews with 48 women with lived experience of IPV relating to a male partner’s gambling, and 24 women with lived experience of IPV relating to their own gambling were reanalysed using thematic analysis. Results Three themes emerged from the data signifying or demonstrating strength-based responses: ‘Commitment to Integrated and Collaborative Responses’; ‘Therapeutic Support’; and ‘Instrumental Support’. The themes highlight the importance of recognising the intersectionality of gambling related IPV and supporting the person ‘at the centre of the service’. Tangible and instrumental supports, such as emergency accommodation and financial assistance, were also central to the recovery process. Conclusion Effective service responses are dependent on understanding how problem gambling and IPV intersect. Importantly, service providers must recognise and address the many facets of each woman’s situation and the shame associated with resolving interdependent and complex issues. Responding to the needs of women impacted by gambling related IPV requires both individual-level awareness and organisational support; recommendations to strengthen service provision are provided.
... Isolated in their partner's family location, having lost the support of their natal family, and living in a community that constructed them as 'Others', without access to the social support networks that Israelis find vital (Malach-Pines and Zaidman, 2003), the women felt trapped. As many of them did not work outside the home, the economic violence (Postmus et al., 2018) they experienced heightened their dependency, and diminished their ability to resist and prospects of leaving. Periods of military hostilities were particularly difficult for the participants, forcing them to tiptoe around and carefully monitor exchanges among and with family/household members, including their own children. ...
Article
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Mixed couples face more marital conflict than endogamous couples. Drawing on intersectional theory and narrative victimology, this study examines women’s accounts of abuse in mixed heterosexual Arab/Palestinian–Israeli Jewish intimate partnerships amid the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The narratives of 25 women formerly in an abusive relationship are the primary data, which are supplemented by a comprehensive list of calls seeking advice or intervention from a non-governmental organization (NGO) that assists women in mixed relationships, and the NGO’s recorded in-service training sessions during which social workers discuss clients’ plights and abuse exposure. Consistent with research on mixed couples, the women’s narratives connect their abuse to differences, dynamics, and tensions rooted in cultural, religious, and social beliefs and practices. Importantly, the narratives also highlight how the Israeli–Palestinian conflict amplifies and escalates the women’s abuse. Intersections of gender, religion, and nationality as well as life in a conflict zone critically affect the abuse dynamic the women experience. The article concludes with a discussion of the relevance of narrative victimology and political enmity for intersectional approaches to domestic violence.
... Due to its widespread nature and far-reaching effects on physical and mental health (Gibbons, 2011), domestic violence has received a lot of attention over the years. However, one form of domestic violence that has been understudied is financial abuse (Postmus et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Article
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Family violence, including child maltreatment (CM) and intimate partner violence (IPV), plagues far too many American families, particularly those in low-income communities. CM and IPV are intertwined and impose a significant emotional, health and financial burden on children and families and an economic burden on our country. Although these and other forms of violence are influenced by shared risk factors across the socioecological spectrum, prevention efforts typically intervene on a single type of violence at a microsystem level via individual or family intervention. Research is needed to identify policies operating at macrosystem levels that reduce, at scale, multiple forms of violence affecting children. In this paper, we propose a three-step theory of change through which health insurance expansions might reduce rates of CM and IPV, using Medicaid expansion as an exemplar. The proposed framework can inform research examining the link between health insurance and the primary prevention of CM and IPV.
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Prior research suggests that economic abuse and work sabotage are common tactics for abusers and (ex)partner stalkers. This study examines the context and timing (i.e., during the relationship or during separation) of work harassment among women stalked by abusive (ex)partners among victims who did (n=271) and who did not (n=302) experience work losses (significant problems at work or loss of work due to the abuse/stalking) and whether work losses and non-work related resource losses were associated with current mental health symptoms. Results showed that almost half of the women in the study reported they experienced work losses because of their abusive (ex)partner. Women with work losses experienced more work harassment particularly during periods of separation. Women who experienced work losses also experienced more work harassment, separation attempts, economic control, coercive control, physical and sexual abuse, higher fear levels, and a higher number of non-work related resource losses compared to women who did not report experiencing work losses. Women with work losses experienced more symptoms of current depression, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Further, in the multivariate analysis, non-work related resource losses were significantly and uniquely associated with current mental health symptoms. In conclusion, women being stalked by abusive (ex)partners are at significant risk of resource losses, and those losses have long term impacts on mental health suggesting that safety planning for stalking victims should include plans to protect resources as well as physical safety.
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Economic hardship is a driver of entry into sex work, which is associated with high HIV risk. Yet, little is known about economic abuse in women employed by sex work (WESW) and its relationship to uptake of HIV prevention and financial support services. This study used cross-sectional baseline data from a multisite, longitudinal clinical trial that tests the efficacy of adding economic empowerment to traditional HIV risk reduction education on HIV incidence in 542 WESW. Mixed effects logistic and linear regressions were used to examine associations in reported economic abuse by demographic characteristics, sexual behaviors, HIV care-seeking, and financial care-seeking. Mean age was 31.4 years. Most WESW were unmarried (74%) and had less than primary school education (64%). 48% had savings, and 72% had debt. 93% reported at least one economic abuse incident. Common incidents included being forced to ask for money (80%), having financial information kept from them (61%), and being forced to disclose how money was spent (56%). WESW also reported partners/relatives spending money needed for bills (45%), not paying bills (38%), threatening them to quit their job(s) (38%), and using physical violence when earning income (24%). Married/partnered WESW (OR = 2.68, 95% CI:1.60–4.48), those with debt (OR = 1.70, 95% CI:1.04–2.77), and those with sex-work bosses (OR = 1.90, 95% CI:1.07–3.38) had higher economic abuse. Condomless sex ( β = +4.43, p < .05) was higher among WESW experiencing economic abuse, who also had lower odds of initiating PrEP (OR = .39, 95% CI:.17–.89). WESW experiencing economic abuse were also more likely to ask for cash among relatives (OR = 2.36, 95% CI:1.13–4.94) or banks (OR = 2.12, 95% CI:1.11–4.03). The high prevalence of HIV and economic abuse in WESW underscores the importance of integrating financial empowerment in HIV risk reduction interventions for WESW, including education about economic abuse and strategies to address it. Programs focusing on violence against women should also consider economic barriers to accessing HIV prevention services.
Article
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Financial strain is one hardship faced by female survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) that is often overlooked. This paper examined the relationships between multiple forms of abuse—with a focus on economic abuse—and financial strain. Guided by stress process model, this study tested two hypotheses: (1) economic abuse is associated with financial strain more than other types of IPV; and (2) decreased economic abuse relates to financial strain over time. The study sample consists of 229 female IPV survivors who participated in a longitudinal, randomized controlled study evaluating an economic empowerment curriculum. Results from regression models suggest that physical abuse and economic abuse were significantly and positively associated with the magnitude of financial strain. Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition was used to partition the mean differences of financial strain over time that was mainly attributed to the decrease in economic and physical abuse (78%). Particularly, the decrease of economic abuse contributed to over half (58%) of the decrease in financial strain over time. Advocates should assess survivors’ risk of economic abuse, evaluate financial strain, and utilize financial safety planning skills to help survivors build economic security and independence. In addition, policy makers should address issues concerning economic security among female IPV survivors.
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We examine the prevalence of economic abuse in all demographics. Previous research primarily considers female victims within heterosexual relationships characterized by other forms of intimate partner violence (“IPV”). Consequently, economic abuse may appear to be a less widespread societal issue than it is. Relying on theory that IPV is not a gendered phenomenon, we collected primary data of the prevalence of economic abuse in the Alberta general population and analyzed the influence of demographic variables on the likelihood of experiencing economic abuse. We surveyed 300 random adults in every demographic on what economically abusive behaviors they have experienced and used univariate and regression analysis to determine the effect of different demographic variables on those experiences. We found that 36% of all adults in the sample experienced economic abuse, with 17% experiencing severe economic abuse. Being male or female had no statistical impact on the likelihood of experiencing such abuse, and the effect of income is contrary to previous assumptions. Women are more vulnerable to Economic Control, a subtype of economic abuse. Economic abuse is a broader problem than research to date has considered. Though it is not a gendered phenomenon, different behaviors are more prevalent or severe for different genders. The prevalence of economic abuse in all demographics suggests that further awareness and advocacy is necessary to reduce its incidence. Additional research on a national level is needed to determine patterns and motivations for economic abuse and its correlations with other forms of IPV.
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Objective: Economic abuse is a form of domestic violence that has a significant impact on the health and financial wellbeing of victims, but is understudied. This study determined the lifetime prevalence of economic abuse in Australia by age and gender, and the associated risk factors. Methods: The 2012 ABS Personal Safety Survey was used, involving a cross-sectional population survey of 17,050 randomly selected adults using face-to-face interviews. The survey-weighted prevalence of economic abuse was calculated and analysed by age and gender. Logistic regression was used to adjust odds ratios for possible confounding between variables. Results: The lifetime prevalence of economic abuse in the whole sample was 11.5%. Women in all age groups were more likely to experience economic abuse (15.7%) compared to men (7.1%). Disability, health and financial stress status were significant markers of economic abuse. Conclusions: For women, financial stress and disability were important markers of economic abuse. However, prevalence rates were influenced by the measures used and victims' awareness of the abuse, which presents a challenge for screening and monitoring. Implications for public health: Social, health and financial services need to be aware of and screen for the warning signs of this largely hidden form of domestic violence.
Article
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Background Intimate partner violence (IPV) is recognised as an important public health and social problem, with far reaching consequences for women’s physical and emotional health and social well-being. Furthermore, controlling behaviour by a partner has a similar impact on women’s well-being, yet little is known about the prevalence of this type of behaviour and other related abuses in Tanzania and in other sub-Saharan African countries. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study to determine the lifetime and past 12-month prevalence of physical and sexual IPV, economic abuse, emotional abuse and controlling behaviour among ever-partnered women in Mwanza, Tanzania. Women (N = 1049) were enrolled in an ongoing trial (Maisha study) to assess the impact of microfinance combined with gender training on participants’ experience IPV, and other related outcomes. Interviews were conducted by same sex interviewers to collect information about socio-demographic characteristics, experiences of specific acts of IPV and abuse, and symptoms of poor mental health status. ResultsOverall, about 61% of women reported ever experiencing physical and/or sexual IPV (95% CI: 58–64%) and 27% (95% CI: 24–29%) experienced it in the past 12 months. Partner controlling behaviour was the most prevalent type of abuse with 82% experiencing it in their lifetime and 63% during the past 12 months. Other types of abuses were also common, with 34% of women reporting economic abuse and 39% reporting emotional abuse during the past 12 months. The prevalence of IPV and abuses varied by socio-demographic characteristics, showing much higher prevalence rates among younger women, women with young partners and less educated women. After we adjusted for age and socio-economic status, physical violence (OR = 1.8; 95% CI: 1.3–2.7) and sexual violence (OR = 2.8; 95% CI: 1.9–4.1) were associated with increased reporting of symptoms of poor mental health. Similarly, experience of abuse during the past 12 months was associated with increased reporting of symptoms of poor mental health. Conclusions The high prevalence of IPV and abuses and its strong links with symptoms of poor mental health underline the urgent need for developing and testing appropriate interventions in settings like Tanzania to tackle both violence and abusive behaviours among intimate partners. Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov – ID NCT02592252, registered retrospectively on 13 August 2015.
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