Developmental antecedents of partner abuse: a prospective-longitudinal study

J Abnorm Psychol. 1998 Aug;107(3):375-89. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.107.3.375.


Prospective measures of risk factors for partner abuse were obtained from a large birth cohort in 4 domains: socioeconomic resources, family relations, educational achievements, and problem behaviors. Partner abuse outcomes were measured at age 21. Results showed that antecedents of abuse included risk factors from all 4 domains. Risk factors were similar for men and women. Some age 3 antecedents were significant, but the strongest correlations were from age 15. In multivariate analyses, the most consistent predictor was the presence of early problem behaviors. In a cross-validation tests, abuse was moderately predictable by the same antecedents, whether the outcome measure was self-report or reports from partners of sample members. Findings suggest that theories of partner abuse should account for developmental influences from multiple life domains and that primary prevention of partner abuse should begin in adolescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Personality Development*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Temperament*