A Systematic Review of Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence

Partner Abuse. 2012 Apr;3(2):231-280. doi: 10.1891/1946-6560.3.2.231.


A systematic review of risk factors for intimate partner violence was conducted. Inclusion criteria included publication in a peer-reviewed journal, a representative community sample or a clinical sample with a control-group comparison, a response rate of at least 50%, use of a physical or sexual violence outcome measure, and control of confounding factors in the analyses. A total of 228 articles were included (170 articles with adult and 58 with adolescent samples). Organized by levels of a dynamic developmental systems perspective, risk factors included: (a) contextual characteristics of partners (demographic, neighborhood, community and school factors), (b) developmental characteristics and behaviors of the partners (e.g., family, peer, psychological/behavioral, and cognitive factors), and (c) relationship influences and interactional patterns. Comparisons to a prior review highlight developments in the field in the past 10 years. Recommendations for intervention and policy along with future directions for intimate partner violence (IPV) risk factor research are presented.