Original Article

Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 639-648

First online:

Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: the Influence of Self-Appraisals, Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse

  • Jason B. WhitingAffiliated withCollege of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University Email author 
  • , Leigh Ann SimmonsAffiliated withDepartments of Family Studies and Health Services Management, University of Kentucky
  • , Jennifer R. HavensAffiliated withCenter on Drug and Alcohol Research, University of Kentucky
  • , Douglas B. SmithAffiliated withCollege of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University
  • , Megan OkaAffiliated withCollege of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University

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Although research has demonstrated connections between experiencing abuse as a child and being in a violent relationship as an adult, the specific mechanisms through which this transmission occurs are unclear. The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between certain personal factors (self-appraisals and mental/substance use disorders) and experiencing violence as an adult. Data from the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) 1990–1992 were utilized. Respondents who reported experiencing childhood abuse or victimization and were in a current intimate partnership (N = 590) were selected for analysis. Multivariate logistic regression indicated that low self-esteem, past year PTSD, and past year alcohol dependence were significantly associated with intimate partner violence after controlling for other self-appraisals and mental disorders.


Violence transmission Self-appraisal Mental disorders Self-esteem Substance abuse