Adverse Childhood Experiences and Intimate Partner Violence; Findings From a Community Sample of Hispanic Young Adults

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Journal of Interpersonal Violence

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In the United States, a substantial proportion of the adult population (36% of women and 34% of men) from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds report experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) over the life course. Family risk factors have been linked to adolescent and young adult IPV involvement, yet few studies have examined the effect of multiple, co-occurring adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in the stability and change of IPV behaviors over young adulthood—the period of highest risk for IPV. We investigated the relationship between the degree of ACE exposure and IPV victimization and perpetration at age 22 and two years later at age 24 among a sample of Hispanic young adults (N= 1,273) in Southern California. Negative binomial regression models compared the incident rate ratio (IRR) of past-year verbal and physical IPV victimization and perpetration of respondents with 1–3 ACE and with ≥4 ACE to their peers who reported no history of ACE cross-sectionally (age 22) and longitudinally (age 24). At age 22, participants with 1–3 and ≥4 ACE were overrepresented in all IPV behaviors and had higher IRRs of verbal and physical victimization and perpetration compared to their peers with no ACE. By age 24, respondents with a history of ≥4 ACE were at significantly greater risk for escalating IPV behaviors over this time period than their peers with 1–3 ACE and no ACE. These findings highlight the importance of investing in coordinated efforts to develop strategies that help young people cope with the downstream effects of early life adversity. Research should continue to identify what individual, community, and cultural assets that promote resilience and are promising foci of IPV prevention approaches among vulnerable populations.


Child abuse; Dating violence; Domestic violence; Intergenerational transmission of trauma


Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology



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