Predictors and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Impacting Children and Youth
AbstractIntimate partner violence (IPV) is a substantial public health problem in the United States with profound implications for the health and well-being of individuals. This dissertation examines predictors and consequences of IPV affecting children and youth in the U.S. The first two studies use data from the Growing Up Today Study. The first study examines childhood gender nonconformity as a predictor of IPV in adolescence and early adulthood. Males reporting the highest level of gender nonconformity were at elevated risk of IPV victimization and perpetration compared to those reporting lower levels of nonconformity in childhood, controlling for demographic characteristics including sexual orientation. There was no evidence of a similar association for females reporting the highest level of gender nonconformity. Childhood abuse did not mediate IPV disparities by gender nonconformity. Findings can inform IPV prevention efforts to explicitly address socially constructed gender norms and promote diverse gender expressions.
The second study seeks to understand a behavioral precursor to IPV – involvement in bullying. Participants reporting the highest levels of bullying victimization were at elevated risk of IPV victimization compared to participants reporting no bullying victimization, adjusting for bullying perpetration and covariates. Participants reporting any bullying perpetration were at greater risk of perpetrating IPV compared to participants reporting no bullying perpetration, adjusting for bullying victimization and covariates. There was no evidence that the associations differed by gender. Results suggest that adolescents carry forward behaviors from their peer relationships to their dating relationships.
The third study uses the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), a state-level surveillance system, to examine the role of IPV in homicides of children aged 2 to 14 years. Through qualitative narrative data from coroner/medical examiner and law enforcement reports, this study assessed how well the NVDRS captures IPV-related child homicides and found that NVDRS currently undercounts the number of these cases by nearly half. This study also documented differences between IPV-related and other child homicides. Many IPV-related child homicides involve immediate stressors, suggesting the need for services to help people cope before these stressors lead to deadly incidents. Primary prevention of IPV may have substantial survival benefits for children.
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