Childhood Sexual Abuse and Sociodemographic Factors Prospectively Associated with Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration Among South African Heterosexual Men

Ann Behav Med. 2017 Apr;51(2):170-178. doi: 10.1007/s12160-016-9836-2.


Background: Intimate partner violence directed at women by men continues to be a global concern. However, little is known about the factors associated with perpetrating intimate partner violence among heterosexual men.

Purpose: History of childhood sexual abuse and other sociodemographic variables were examined as potential factors associated with severe intimate partner violence perpetration toward women in a sample of heterosexual men in South Africa.

Methods: Longitudinal logistic generalized estimating equations examined associations of childhood sexual abuse and sociodemographic variables at baseline with intimate partner violence perpetration at subsequent time points.

Results: Among participants with a steady female partner, 21.81 % (190/ 871) reported perpetrating intimate partner violence in the past year at baseline. Having a history of childhood sexual abuse (p < .001), binge drinking (p = .002), being employed (p = .050), and more difficulty controlling sexual impulses in order to use a condom (p = .006) at baseline were associated with self-reported intimate partner violence perpetration in the past year at subsequent time points.

Conclusions: With high levels of recent severe physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence perpetration in South Africa, comprehensive interventions are urgently needed. To more fully address gender-based violence, it is important to address associated factors, including exposure to childhood sexual abuse that could impact behavior later in life and that have long-lasting and deleterious effects on men and their female partners.

Keywords: Africa; Men; Partner abuse; Risk factors; Sexual abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology*
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / psychology*
  • Male
  • Men
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • South Africa