Understanding How Relational Health Effects Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration among Low-Income, Black, Indigenous, Men of Color Exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences: An Exploratory Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 8;18(8):3890. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18083890.


Relational health has emerged as a consistent factor that can mitigate the effects of trauma among children; however, less is known about relational health with adults, particularly related to intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration among racially and socioeconomically marginalized men. The Exploratory Sequential Design, Taxonomy Development Model was used. Semi-structured interviews (N = 11) and narrative analysis were conducted in Phase I. In Phase II, variables approximating the key themes that emerged in Phase I were selected from an existing dataset (N = 67), and relationships were examined using bivariate associations. The sample consisted of low-income Black, Indigenous, men of color (BIMOC) in a batterer intervention program (BIP). Adverse life experiences shaped participants' world view via mistrust in others, stifling emotions and vulnerability, and a sense of personal guilt and shame. These orientations were then carried into adult relationships where men coped using social isolation to manage challenges, negatively affecting intimate relationships. For some men, mental health exacerbated these circumstances. Significant bivariate and multivariate associations supported this narrative. This study lays the foundation for future research to examine the potential effects of social support on IPV perpetration. BIPs should consider augmenting programming to enhance men's social networks to support their use of nonviolence after program completion.

Keywords: adverse childhood experiences; intimate partner violence; mixed methods; social support; socioeconomic disadvantage.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Male
  • Men
  • Prevalence
  • Skin Pigmentation