Study Explores Classes of Intimate Partner Violence from Late Adolescence to Young Adulthood

By Hans Saint-Eloi Cadely, Ph.D.

Hans Saint-Eloi Cadely, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Rhode Island. His research focuses on the effects of dating aggression and intimate partner violence on adolescent and young adult development. Below he discusses an article that he and his colleagues published recently in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

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Could you describe the aim of the study?

Our study examined whether there are multiple patterns of change in the perpetration of intimate partner violence over time. Previously there have been many studies that indicated the change in such behaviors over time. However, findings from these studies have been inconsistent, as in many of these studies have shown different findings. We were interested in whether these inconsistencies were because perhaps the change in intimate partner violence may vary across a population. Therefore, we investigated this research question among a sample of individuals transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood.

What would be the most important take-home message from the study?

The first take-home message would be that change in intimate partner violence may indeed vary across a population, and thus we should not assume that there is only one average pattern of change in such behaviors over time. Our findings suggest that some individuals may increase their usage of intimate partner violence, some may report consistent use of such behaviors, whereas others may report very little-to-no usage of such behaviors at all. Secondly, this multitude of change may occur as adolescents are becoming young adults. This is critical as it is during this time period that individuals are becoming more involved in romantic relationships, and thus the opportunities to become involved in an aggressive relationship increase during this developmental period.

How are these findings important in practice?

Our findings suggest that programs aimed at preventing intimate partner violence may need to tailor their techniques to particular individuals. As in those who continue to engage in intimate partner violence over time may need more assistance to aid them in discontinuing such behaviors relative to those who are not as active in their engagement of such behaviors over time.

What other studies can be recommended to further an understanding/application of the findings?

The next step would be to understand what drives these different patterns. In other words, what factors can make individuals more likely to remain consistent/increase in their usage of intimate partner violence? Furthermore, we need to understand how these different patterns contribute to mental health outcomes and relationship formation over time. For instance, are individuals who remain consistent in their reports of intimate partner violence over time more likely to experience depression and/or difficulties as they marry compared to individuals who report little use of intimate partner violence over time?

External Links

Link to the primary paper:

Saint-Eloi Cadely, H., Pittman, J. F., Pettit, G. S., Lansford J. E., Bates, J. E., Dodge, K. A., &  Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2017). Classes of intimate partner violence from late adolescence to young adulthood. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-25. doi: 10.1177/0886260517715601

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