The impact of exposure to parental intimate partner violence on adolescent precocious transitions to adulthood

J Adolesc. 2019 Dec;77:179-187. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.11.001. Epub 2019 Nov 21.


Introduction: Precocious transitions can create stress by placing excessive demands on adolescents and are associated with adverse outcomes that extend into adulthood. The current study assessed whether exposure to parental intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with adolescent precocious transitions to adulthood.

Methods: Data come from 33,360 individuals aged 18+ years in the United States who participated in the National Epidemiologic Surveys of Alcohol and Related Conditions. Six precocious transitions (leaving home early, early sex, early marriage, early parenthood, early full-time employment, and dropping out of high school) were examined. Robust Poisson regression was used to calculate relative risks for the association between IPV exposure and each precocious transition, adjusting for confounders. We assessed effect modification by gender and by exposure to childhood abuse or neglect.

Results: Participants exposed to IPV in childhood were at higher risk of engaging in early sex; dropping out of high school; entering into early full-time employment; entering into early marriage; and entering into early parenthood relative to participants not exposed to IPV. Significant interactions between gender and exposure to IPV were detected for early sex and early full-time work outcomes, such that the associations were stronger for females compared to males. Participants exposed to more frequent or more severe IPV in childhood were at even higher risk for experiencing precocious transitions.

Conclusions: Individuals exposed to IPV in childhood are more likely to experience precocious transitions to adulthood. Findings highlight the need for interventions to mitigate adverse outcomes in adolescence for children exposed to IPV.

Keywords: Adolescence; Intimate partner violence; Precocious transitions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Exposure to Violence / psychology*
  • Exposure to Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / psychology*
  • Intimate Partner Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Parents
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Runaway Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • United States
  • Young Adult