Interviewer effects on the reporting of intimate partner violence in the 2015 Zimbabwe demographic and heath survey

Nicholas Metheny, Rob Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intimate partner violence is a global public health concern that is widely under-reported. Socio-demographic factors of the interviewer may contribute to a reluctance to report violence. The introduction of the fieldworker survey to the 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey provides the first opportunity to test associations between interviewer characteristics and the reporting of intimate partner violence in the largest source of IPV data on intimate partner violence available for low-and middle-income countries. Three separate, multilevel logistic regression models were used to examine associations between the reporting of physical, sexual and emotional intimate partner violence and interviewer characteristics (age, sex and marital status, as well as differences in these indicators between interviewer and respondent), language of the interview and the interviewer’s previous experience conducting the Demographic and Health Survey. Previous experience as a Demographic and Health Survey interviewer was associated with significantly lower odds (OR: 0.67) of reporting physical intimate partner violence. Researchers should consider using the fieldworker data set in future studies to control for potential interviewer error, account for the clustering of data by interviewer and increase the robustness of Demographic and Health Survey analyses. Understanding how interviewers may shape the reporting of intimate partner violence is a step towards accurately measuring its burden in low-and middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-258
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Demographic and Health Survey
  • Interviewer effects
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Law


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