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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    • "Some cross-sectional studies show that the idea of an intergenerational cycle of domestic violence is also applicable to African societies (Abrahams & Jewkes, 2005; Gass, Stein, Williams, & Seedat, 2011; Kishor & Johnson, 2004). The different types of domestic violence tend to be interrelated: (1) experiencing maltreatment during childhood has been identified as a major risk factor for perpetrating violence against the intimate partner (e.g., Abramsky et al., 2011; Ehrensaft et al., 2003; Roberts, McLaughlin, Conron, & Koenen, 2011) and the own offspring (Pears & Capaldi, 2001). (2) Intimate partner violence has been associated with abusive practices against the own children (Guterman & Lee, 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Experiencing abuse during childhood affects the psychological well-being of individuals throughout their lives and may even influence their offspring by enhancing the likelihood of an intergenera- tional transmission of violence. Understanding the effects of childhood maltreatment on child-rearing practices and intimate partner violence might be of particular importance to overcome the consequences of violent conflicts in African societies. Objective: Using Burundi as an example, we aimed to explore the associations between childhood maltreatment, intimate partner violence, perceived partner intimidation, gender and the probability of violently acting out against one’s own children or romantic partner. Methods: Amongst a sample of 141 men and 141 women in the capital of Burundi, we identified those who had biological children and those who lived or had lived in relationships. Using culturally appropriate instruments, we enquired about their exposure to childhood maltreatment and partner violence as well as their inclinations to act out violently. Results: We found that childhood maltreatment and perceived partner intimidation were strong predictors for the perpetration of violence against children. Moreover, we found that women were more likely to use violence against children if they experienced partner violence and less likely to resort to violence if they felt intimidated. Men were more likely to perpetrate violence against their partner. Childhood maltreatment was again a strong predictor. The more women experienced partner violence, the more they fought back. Conclusions: Childhood maltreatment is a strong predictor for domestic violence and has to be addressed to interrupt the cycle of violence in post-conflict countries.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · European Journal of Psychotraumatology
    • "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.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Nov 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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Youth and Adolescence
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