Faculty Articles

Intimate Partner Violence: The Relationship between Risk Factors and Symptom Severity

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Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma




Several adult and childhood risk factors are associated with an increased likelihood of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization. Witnessing interparental violence and experiencing abuse as a child are both linked to an increased likelihood of experiencing IPV as an adult. Additionally, relationship factors, including length of IPV relationships, intermittent relationship reinforcement, and having children not related to the perpetrator, are linked to an increased severity of abuse. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between childhood and adult relationship factors and the severity of emotional and behavioral symptoms associated with IPV. Statistically, the macro PROCESS was employed to evaluate the association of childhood factors to symptom severity with adult relationship factors as the mediator. Results suggest that adult relationship factors partially mediate the relationship between childhood factors and symptom severity. Specifically, these findings demonstrate that the identified childhood factors significantly increased adult relationship factors, which, in turn, increased symptom severity in female IPV survivors. Educating clinicians and medical professionals’ understanding of these risk factors may improve the rates at which these survivors are identified and could lower the risk of continued abuse. Additionally, cultivating awareness of these factors and integrating them into assessment and intervention programs may be a step toward protecting IPV survivors against psychologically negative outcomes.



Peer Reviewed