Social Disorganization Theory, Gentrification, and Intimate Partner Violence in Austin, Texas




McDowell, Molly

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pervasive public health problem. Although its risk and protective factors are most often analyzed at the individual and dyadic levels, studying the relationships between risks and protective factors for IPV victimization and perpetration at aggregate-level units of analysis sheds light on how communities are impacted by—and can respond to—IPV occurring in their neighborhoods. This dissertation uses Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization theory of crime as a theoretical framework with which to examine how neighborhood characteristics affect the spatial distribution of neighborhood IPV incident reports in Austin, Texas, in two years a decade apart. This research design facilitates the extension of social disorganization-IPV research by repeating Shaw and McKay’s theory test and including a previously unstudied variable in the IPV literature: the city growth process of gentrification. Using negative binomial regression model estimation, partial support for a relationship between Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization variables and IPV was found. Additionally, gentrification was found to have a positive and significant effect on the neighborhood spatial distribution of IPV incident reports. Implications for policy and future research directions are discussed.



intimate partner violence, neighborhoods, Social Disorganization Theory, gentrification


McDowell, M. (2022). Social disorganization theory, gentrification, and intimate partner violence In Austin, Texas (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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