Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Intimate Partner Violence: Childhood Witnessing and Subsequent Experiences of College Undergraduates

TitleIntimate Partner Violence: Childhood Witnessing and Subsequent Experiences of College Undergraduates
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsForke CM, Myers RK, Localio RA, Wiebe DJ, Fein JA, Grisso JAnn, Catallozzi M
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Date Published07/2019

Previous work links witnessing adult violence in the home during childhood ("witnessing") and adolescent relationship violence, but studies are limited to recent experiences with one or two outcomes, missing the holistic viewpoint describing lifetime experiences across multiple types of violence. We measured associations between witnessing and victimization (being harmed by violence) and perpetration (causing harm by violence) among males and females for the three most common types of adolescent relationship violence (physical, sexual, and emotional), and we assessed whether students experienced multiple outcomes ("polyvictimization/ polyperpetration"). We also compared sex-specific differences to assess for additive effect modification. We used an anonymous, cross-sectional survey with 907 undergraduates attending randomly selected classes at three urban East Coast colleges. Multiple logistic regression and marginal standardization were used to estimate predicted probabilities for each outcome among witnesses and non-witnesses; additive interaction by sex was assessed using quantifiable measures. 214 (24%) students reported witnessing and 403 (44%) students experienced adolescent relationship violence, with 162 (17.9%) and 37 (4.1%) experiencing polyvictimization and polyperpetration, respectively. Witnesses had higher risk than non-witnesses for physical, sexual, and emotional victimization and perpetration. Notably, witnesses also had higher risk for polyvictimization and polyperpetration. Additive effect modification by sex was insignificant at 95% confidence bounds, but distinct patterns emerged for males and females. Except for sexual victimization, female witnesses were more likely than female non-witnesses to experience all forms of victimization, including polyvictimization; they also had higher risk for perpetration, particularly physical perpetration. In contrast, victimization outcomes did not differ for male witnesses, but male witnesses were more likely than male non-witnesses to perpetrate all forms of violence, including polyperpetration.

Alternate JournalJ Interpers Violence
PubMed ID31288610