Adulthood Stressors, History of Childhood Adversity, and Risk of Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence

Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
American journal of preventive medicine (Impact Factor: 4.53). 02/2011; 40(2):128-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.10.016
Source: PubMed


More than half a million U.S. women and more than 100,000 men are treated for injuries from intimate partner violence (IPV) annually, making IPV perpetration a major public health problem. However, little is known about causes of perpetration across the life course.
This paper examines the role of "stress sensitization," whereby adult stressors increase risk for IPV perpetration most strongly in people with a history of childhood adversity.
The study investigated a possible interaction effect between adulthood stressors and childhood adversities in risk of IPV perpetration, specifically, whether the difference in risk of IPV perpetration associated with past-year stressors varied by history of exposure to childhood adversity. Analyses were conducted in 2010 using de-identified data from 34,653 U.S. adults from the 2004-2005 follow-up wave of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.
There was a significant stress sensitization effect. For men with high-level childhood adversity, past-year stressors were associated with an 8.8 percentage point (pp) increased risk of perpetrating compared to a 2.3 pp increased risk among men with low-level adversity. Women with high-level childhood adversity had a 14.3 pp increased risk compared with a 2.5 pp increased risk in the low-level adversity group.
Individuals with recent stressors and histories of childhood adversity are at particularly elevated risk of IPV perpetration; therefore, prevention efforts should target this population. Treatment programs for IPV perpetrators, which have not been effective in reducing risk of perpetrating, may benefit from further investigating the role of stress and stress reactivity in perpetration.

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    • "Full information maximum likelihood estimation was used to handle missing data, which accounts for missing-atrandom data. Sex differences have been observed in the association between ACEs and intimate partner aggression (Roberts et al., 2011). Therefore, multiple group analysis was performed to obtain separate estimates for men and women. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major problem with serious physical and mental health consequences. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including emotional, physical or sexual abuse, witnessing parental violence, or living with someone who has mental illness, a substance abuse (SA) or incarceration history have been linked to violence and psychopathology. However, the mediational pathways for these relationships are not understood. Objective: To determine the mediational role of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse (SA), and depression in the association between ACEs and intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration. Methods: Data were obtained from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol Related Conditions (2004-2005) (N=34,653). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to determine latent factors for ACEs, and IPV perpetration. Mediation analysis was used to determine the mediational roles of PTSD, SA, and depression in the association between ACEs and past year IPV perpetration in three separate models. Results: Approximately 57% of respondents were exposed to at least one ACE, and approximately 6% reported IPV perpetration in the past year. EFA of ACEs indicated three factors: sexual abuse, neglect/other abuse, and parental psychopathology. EFA of IPV perpetration indicated one factor. PTSD (p=0.000), depression (p=0.000) and SA (p<0.003) partially mediated the association between all three ACE factors and IPV perpetration Conclusions: Intervention programs targeting IPV perpetrators, should consider addressing ACEs, which have far-reaching effects across the lifespan, along with PTSD, SA, and depression as key focal points.
    142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2014; 11/2014
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    • "Exposure to stressful life events has been associated with crime and violence among adults (Broidy 2001; Eitle and Turner 2003; Straus 1980), and delinquency and violence against peers among adolescents (Baker et al. 2010; Morash and Moon 2007; Ngo and Le 2007; Youngstrom et al. 2003). A number of studies have also found a link between life stressors and the perpetration of intimate partner violence in adulthood (Cano and Vivian 2001; Mason and Smithey 2012; Roberts et al. 2011). Very little research, however, has been conducted to determine if exposure to stressful life events increases adolescent risk for dating abuse, a prevalent form of adolescent violence (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2014) that results in serious and long-lasting consequences to the victim (Exner-Cortens et al. 2013; Foshee et al. 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that stressful life events are associated with the perpetration of intimate partner violence among adults, but little attention has been given to the relationship between stressful life events and adolescent dating abuse, a prevalent form of violence that results in serious and long-lasting consequences. The current study addresses this gap by examining associations between family-, peer-, school-, and health-related stressful life events and the perpetration of both psychological and physical forms of dating abuse in a sample of 1,125 adolescents (54.6 % female, 18 % Black), and determining whether these associations are moderated by attributes of the family (closeness to parent) and the adolescent (sex and self-esteem). The total number of stressful events and school-related events were positively associated with the perpetration of psychological dating abuse and family-related events were related to the perpetration of psychological dating abuse for boys, but not girls. Closeness to parent buffered the effect of stressful health-related events on the perpetration of physical dating abuse, but exacerbated the effect of stressful family-related events on the perpetration of physical dating abuse. Health-related events were associated with physical perpetration for those with high, but not low self-esteem. Finally, the total number of stressful events and family-related events were related to the perpetration of physical dating abuse by boys, but not by girls. Taken together, these findings suggest that stressful life events play an important role in adolescent dating abuse, and should be taken into consideration when developing adolescent dating abuse prevention programs.
    Journal of Youth and Adolescence 09/2014; 44(3). DOI:10.1007/s10964-014-0181-0 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    • "While research has examined behavioral and contextual predictors of dating violence in individuals with EIPV (e.g., Ehrensaft et al., 2003; Roberts et al., 2011), studies on adolescent relational risk factors for dating violence are less prevalent. In addition to finding that elevated externalizing behaviors and life stress are important predictors of dating violence, this study found that conflict within adolescent best friendships, rather than other relationships, is important in the pathway from EIPV to dating violence, albeit not as a mediator. "
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    ABSTRACT: Within a developmental psychopathology framework, the current study examined adolescent conflict (age 16) with families, best friends, and dating partners as mediators in the prospective pathway from exposure to interparental violence (EIPV) in early childhood (0-64 months) to dating violence perpetration and victimization in early adulthood (age 23). Adolescent conflict was predicted to partially mediate EIPV and dating violence with significant direct paths from EIPV to dating violence, given the extant literature on the salience of early childhood EIPV for later maladjustment. Participants (N = 182; 99 males, 83 females; 67 % Caucasian, 11 % African-American, 18 % other, 4 % unreported) were drawn from a larger prospective study of high-risk mothers (aged 12-34 years) that followed their children from birth through adulthood. EIPV and adolescent conflict were rated from interviews with mothers and participants, and dating violence (physical perpetration and victimization) was assessed with the Conflict Tactics Scale. Path analyses showed that EIPV in early childhood (a) directly predicted dating violence perpetration in early adulthood and (b) predicted conflict with best friends, which in turn predicted dating violence perpetration. Although mediation of best friend conflict was not evident, indirect effects of EIPV to dating violence were found through externalizing behaviors in adolescence and life stress in early adulthood. Findings highlight that conflict with best friends is affected by EIPV and predicts dating violence, suggesting that it may be a promising target for relationship-based interventions for youth with EIPV histories. Furthermore, deleterious early experiences and contemporaneous risk factors are salient predictors of dating violence.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 08/2013; 42(2). DOI:10.1007/s10802-013-9782-4 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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