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The prevalence of economic abuse among intimate partners in Alberta

Faculty Advisor




economic abuse, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, coercive control theory

Abstract (summary)

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.

Publication Information

White, R. M., & Fjellner, D. (2022). The Prevalence of Economic Abuse Among Intimate Partners in Alberta. SAGE OPEN, 12(1).


Item Type




Attribution (CC BY)