Pathways from physical childhood abuse to partner violence in young adulthood

Violence Vict. 2004 Apr;19(2):123-36. doi: 10.1891/vivi.


Analyses investigated several competing hypotheses about developmental pathways from childhood physical abuse and early aggression to intimate partner violence (IPV) for young adult males and females at age 24. Potential intervening variables included: adolescent violence (age 15 to 18), negative emotionality at age 21, and quality of one's relationship with an intimate partner at age 24. At the bivariate level, nearly all variables were associated in the expected directions. However, tests of possible intervening variables revealed only a few significant results. For males, a strong direct effect of abuse on later partner violence was maintained in each model. For females, the quality of one's relationship with an intimate partner did appear to mediate the effect of childhood abuse on later violence to a partner, raising the possibility of gender differences in developmental pathways linking abuse to IPV. Implications with regard to prevention are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies