Risk of Revictimization of Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of Attachment, Anger and Violent Behavior of the Victim

J Fam Violence. 2012 Jan;27(1):33-44. doi: 10.1007/s10896-011-9399-8. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Abstract

Victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) are known to be at high risk for revictimization. Yet, to date, the mechanisms explaining the link between victimization and revictimization of IPV have not been extensively studied. In the present prospective study involving 74 female help-seeking victims of IPV, we investigated victim-related psychological mechanisms that may underlie this link. With this study, we aim to contribute to the development of theory addressing these psychological mechanisms and their role in explaining risk for IPV revictimization. Hypotheses regarding possibly relevant psychological mechanisms were derived from two conflicting approaches to IPV: the gender perspective, and the mutual IPV perspective. Results lend further support to the mutual IPV perspective, since our final prediction model indicates that victim-perpetrated IPV is an important risk factor for physical and psychological IPV revictimization. An avoidant attachment style shows to be a strong predictor as well, in particular for victims with high and average anger levels. Findings provide clear indications for risk assessment and treatment of IPV victims, and moreover offer opportunities to empower these victims in order to prevent future violence.