B3567 - The intergenerational continuity of intimate partner violence an exploration of possible mechanisms - 07/07/2020

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Delphine Theobald | Kingston University (UK)
Dr Sania Shakoor, Professor David P. Farrington
Title of project: 
The intergenerational continuity of intimate partner violence: an exploration of possible mechanisms
Proposal summary: 

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is closely associated with the more commonly used term ‘domestic violence’ but is often considered to include a wider range of contexts and behaviours specifically with regard to partners in dating, cohabiting and marital relationships. IPV can be conceptualised as a continuum of abuse, including homicide, minor and severe physical assault, sexual assault, psychological abuse, including threats, harassment, coercion and intimidation. Various studies have demonstrated that both men and women can act as perpetrators and victims. IPV is increasingly reported and is thus a huge burden for public health as it occurs regardless of age, socio-economic status, gender and sexuality and it can result in a number of negative outcomes. These can include but are not limited to substance misuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidal ideation. Not least, and perhaps of greatest concern, is the possibility of intergenerational transmission of IPV. The relationships, particularly those between parents and children, are highly influential and life course events, drug and alcohol abuse and IPV can have a huge impact on their lives. This intergenerational transmission is a widely studied explanation of how family characteristics can impact on the development of aggression and violence in adult relationships. Children raised in households where they are exposed to acts of violence may in turn learn that violence is an appropriate reaction in interpersonal conflictual situations and act accordingly in their own relationships in adulthood. There is currently robust evidence to support this proposition, but there are inconsistencies. Children may have differential responses to this experience, and this may be explained by whether a child experiences abuse directly or only witnesses parental violence. There is currently a dearth of studies that use multiple waves of data garnered from prospective longitudinal studies that address the limitations of prior research. These limitations are the use of cross-sectional or short-term follow-ups, male only studies, female only studies and measurement anomalies. Further exploration of the intergenerational transmission of IPV is therefore warranted taking into consideration the limitations of prior research. A birth cohort provides ideal data to investigate this alongside the possibility of developing further knowledge of the underlying mechanisms involved. There are a number of factors that are known to increase the vulnerabilities for being involved as either victims or perpetrators of IPV. Some psychosocial factors such as family breakdown, maltreatment, mental and physical health, drug and alcohol abuse, personality traits and socio-economic disadvantage have all been shown to be associated with individual variations in IPV. Whether there is a direct relationship between any one of these factors and IPV is unclear, and it is likely that these factors and others may have interactive or sequential effects.

Impact of research: 
This project will provide deeper aetiological knowledge and provide an insight into the behavioural profiles of those exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). It will be of interest to academics as it will add to knowledge with regard to the continuity of IPV from one generation to the next and explore possible underlying pathways. It will be of relevance to public health practitioners and policy makers as IPV is robustly associated with negative health outcomes . Furthermore, through the identification of mediators, findings from this project could be used to inform interventions aimed at supporting and reducing the impact of IPV.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 7 July, 2020
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 7 July, 2020
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Statistical methods, Social science