Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 500–517 | Cite as

Understanding Adolescent and Family Influences on Intimate Partner Psychological Violence During Emerging Adulthood and Adulthood

  • Brenda J. Lohman
  • Tricia K. Neppl
  • Jennifer M. Senia
  • Thomas J. Schofield
Empirical Research


The intergenerational transmission of violence directed toward intimate partners has been documented for the past three decades. Overall, the literature shows that violence in the family of origin leads to violence in the family of destination. However, this predominately cross–sectional or retrospective literature is limited by self–selection, endogeneity, and reporter biases as it has not been able to assess how individual and family behaviors simultaneously experienced during adolescence influence intimate partner violence throughout adulthood. The present study used data from the Iowa Youth and Families Project (IYFP; N = 392; 52 % Female), a multi–method, multi–trait prospective approach, to overcome this limitation. We focused on psychological intimate partner violence in both emerging adulthood (19–23 years) and adulthood (27–31 years), and include self and partner ratings of violence as well as observational data in a sample of rural non-Hispanic white families. Controlling for a host of individual risk factors as well as interparental psychological violence from adolescence (14–15 years), the results show that exposure to parent–to–child psychological violence during adolescence is a key predictor of intimate partner violence throughout adulthood. In addition, negative emotionality and the number of sexual partners in adolescence predicted intimate partner violence in both emerging adulthood and adulthood. Exposure to family stress was associated positively with intimate partner violence in adulthood but not in emerging adulthood, whereas academic difficulties were found to increase violence in emerging adulthood only. Unlike previous research, results did not support a direct effect of interparental psychological violence on psychological violence in the next generation. Gender differences were found only in emerging adulthood. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of the current literature and future directions.


Intimate partner violence Longitudinal Multimethod Multitrait Parenting 



This research is currently supported by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HD064687, HD051746, MH051361, and HD047573). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies. Support for earlier years of the study also came from multiple sources, including the National Institute of Mental Health (MH00567, MH19734, MH43270, MH59355, MH62989, and MH48165), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA05347), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD027724), the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health (MCJ–109572), and the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Adolescent Development Among Youth in High–Risk Settings. Correspondence regarding this manuscript should be addressed to Brenda Lohman. A special thank you is extended to the children, caregivers, and families who have graciously participated in this study and given us access to their lives for so many years.

Author Contributions

Given BL’s interests in intimate partner violence, she participated in the design, conceptualization, analytic planning and the writing of this article. As an Investigator of FTP, TN has been an integral part in the design and coordination of all phases of this study as well as the development, conceptualization, and writing of this article. JS and TS were primarily responsible for data analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenda J. Lohman
    • 1
  • Tricia K. Neppl
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Senia
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Schofield
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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