The impact of childhood adversity on female‐perpetrated intimate partner violence in young adulthood

McGrath, A., Mackay, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-0477-2492 and Baguley, T. ORCID: 0000-0002-0477-2492, 2024. The impact of childhood adversity on female‐perpetrated intimate partner violence in young adulthood. Legal and Criminological Psychology. ISSN 1355-3259

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Purpose: A common conception of intimate partner violence (IPV) is that women rarely use violence against romantic partners, and when they do, this is usually in self-defence. However, evidence demonstrates that women perpetrate IPV at least as frequently as men, particularly in young adult populations. Despite this, there is still a significant lack of research focusing on women's IPV perpetration, particularly in determining risk markers. The unique relationship between adversity in childhood and IPV perpetration has been recognized in males and it is thought that this relationship may be even more marked in females. The present study aimed to investigate this relationship to see whether experiencing increasing numbers of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) would be associated with higher incidence of female-perpetrated IPV.

Methods: Exposure to ACEs and frequency of IPV perpetration was measured through an online survey of young adult females from the general population.

Results: Regression analysis revealed that ACEs did significantly predict the frequency of IPV perpetrated by females. The results showed that the more adversity a female has experienced in childhood, the greater their risk of IPV perpetration in young adulthood.

Conclusions: It is suggested that this relationship potentially exists because adversity in childhood impacts the individual's attachments and processing of social environments, thus resulting in dysfunctional, violent responses to relationship dilemmas throughout life. These results stress the importance of tailoring treatment strategies for female perpetrators to address potential childhood adversity in which their violence may be rooted.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Legal and Criminological Psychology
Creators: McGrath, A., Mackay, J. and Baguley, T.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 5 March 2024
ISSN: 1355-3259
Rights: © 2024 The Authors. Legal and Criminological Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 22 Mar 2024 15:52
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2024 15:52

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