EXTERNALLY-FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Exploring how economic abuse manifests in young adult relationships
Economic abuse between intimate partners is about financial control, financial exploitation and sabotage of employment or study. It creates financial dependence which traps people in abusive relationships. It has a significant impact on financial, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Economic abuse in young adult relationships is understudied and yet this knowledge is essential for developing prevention strategies. The aim of this research is to explore how economic abuse manifests in young adult relationships. A national survey (N = 17,050) was analysed to determine the prevalence of economic abuse.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 experts and narrative and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 young adults aged 18 to 29 (18 women and six men). Analysis of the population data revealed that 4.6% of young men and 9.7% of young women have experienced economic abuse.
The most commonly occurring form of abuse for both genders was having their property damaged, destroyed or stolen by their partner. Expert interviews highlighted that young adults were more vulnerable to financial control and exploitation, and acquiring debts from the relationship. The majority of young adults interviewed experienced financial exploitation. Young women with children were more vulnerable to financial control.
Men’s narratives of economic abuse were ambiguous. Most young adults sought assistance from family. Experts and young adults had excellent ideas for prevention strategies. These findings have significant implications for the prevention of economic abuse among young adults at all levels of society. Social marketing can have a significant role in the prevention of economic abuse.
Award (PhD Scholarship)
Project start & End Dates
March 2015 – December 2018