In recent years, the visibility of a type of domestic violence known as child-to-parent violence (CPV) has increased, awakening the interest of researchers and the exponential growth of studies dealing with this problem (Ávila-Navarrete & Correa-López, 2021; Beckmann et al., 2021; Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a; Calvete et al., 2020; Cuervo and Palanques, 2022; Del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2021; Fernández-González et al., 2021; Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021; Kuay et al., 2021; Loinaz et al., 2020; López-Martínez et al., 2021; Martí et al., 2020; Martínez-Ferrer et al., 2020; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022; Papamichail & Bates, 2022; Peck et al., 2021; Ruiz-Fernández et al., 2021; Seijo et al., 2020; Suárez-Relinque et al., 2020).

The following definition of CPV is frequently used in research and includes the most relevant aspects of its conceptualization:

Repeated behaviors of physical, psychological (verbal or non-verbal), or economic violence, directed at the parents, or those who take their place. Specific aggressions are excluded, those that occur in a state of decreased consciousness, which disappear when it is recovered (intoxications, withdrawal syndromes, delusional states or hallucinations), those caused by psychological alterations (transient or stable), and parricide without a history of previous aggressions (Pereira et al., 2017, p.6).

As for the prevalence, the data obtained are inconclusive, producing disparate figures. This may be due to the definition of CPV, differences in sample size and nature, or the data collection method employed in the studies (Rico et al., 2017). International research conducted in the United States and Canada indicates a prevalence of physical CPV between 11 and 22% and of psychological CPV between 51 and 75% (Margolin & Baucom, 2014). In Spain, del Hoyo-Bilbao et al. (2018) found a prevalence rate of physical CPV between 8.2% and 9% and between 13.1% and 14% of psychological CPV. Likewise, Ruiz-Fernández et al. (2021) found, in the sample analyzed, that 26.83% of the minors had committed serious psychological CPV towards the mother and 22.50% towards the father; 1.43% had exerted serious physical CPV towards the mother and 1.60% towards the father. Finally, in relation to economic violence, 3.99% had performed this economic CPV towards the mother and 2.89% towards the father. Most research indicates a higher rate of violence against mothers than fathers (Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021; Loinaz et al., 2020). Studies that examine differences according to sex show that both boys and girls commit CPV, although some authors indicate significant differences in the type of violence perpetrated, establishing that boys commit physical violence more frequently, and girls commit more psychological violence (Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022).

Recent studies have analyzed the risk factors of CPV, finding a relationship between several variables such as parental ineffectiveness and the influence of peer conflicts (del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2020), peer violence (Carrascosa et al., 2018; Castañeda et al., 2017), permissive, authoritarian and negligent educational style or child abuse (Ibabe & Jaureguizar, 2011), emotional security in the family system (Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021), impulsivity and substance abuse (del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2020; Rosado et al., 2017; Ruiz-Fernández et al., 2021). Thus, due to the growing interest in CPV and the diversity of variables involved, some studies have tried to provide an explanatory model for this phenomenon. Cottrell and Monk (2004) applied the Nested Ecological Theory to explain CPV. These authors establish that CPV is generated due to the interrelation between the variables belonging to the different subsystems in which the aggressor is involved: an ontogenetic system, comprising individual characteristics and experiences in aggressors (e.g., substance abuse); a microsystem, which includes all those patterns of interaction that can produce violence (e.g., limited skills in conflict resolution, negative communication styles); an exosystem, encompassing social structures that could increase violence and condition interactions at the individual and family levels (e.g., negative social influence, absence of community support); and a macrosystem, which involves the system of beliefs and cultural values that naturalize and legitimize violence (e.g., gender roles, gender inequality, or social stereotypes).

In alignment with this, several recent reviews have provided theoretical analyses of the risk factors contributing to the development of CPV. These reviews highlight various risk factors associated with CPV, derived from the subsystems within the Ecological Theory. These factors include individual factors (e.g. clinical disorders, stress), familial factors (single parenthood, child maltreatment) or social factors (problems at school, peer-to-peer violence) (Hong et al., 2012; Simmons et al., 2018). However, none of them specifically focus on the sex differences of victims and aggressors. Previous studies have shown that sex differences exist in terms of the types of violence perpetrated, with boys displaying a higher tendency for physical aggression compared to girls. These differences can be attributed to a combination of biopsychosocial factors (Fries et al., 2013). Specifically, studies on CPV indicates that, while both boys and girls engage in CPV, there are variations in the types of violence committed. Boys are more likely to exhibit physical violence, whereas girls tend to engage in psychological violence (Rosado et al., 2017). In addition, previous research finds differences in risk factors for CPV depending on the sex of aggressor and victim (Calvete et al., 2012; Ibabe et al., 2013; Martí et al., 2020; Orue et al., 2019; Rosado et al., 2017). However, there isn’t an explanatory model as to why differences in risk factors for CPV are found respect to sex.


This scoping review was proposed to provide a structured analysis of the variables associated with CPV, drawing from the subsystems within the Ecological Theory, and to establish the interrelationships among these variables. Its aim was to provide a clearer understanding of the risk factors associated with CPV by synthesizing finding from both qualitative and quantitative studies. There are different explanatory theories that have been used as a frame of reference in CPV: Stress Theory (Strasbug, 1978), General Strain Theory and Coercion Theory (Agnew, 1992; Patterson, 1982); Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1973). However, we consider that the Ecological Theory is the one that best fits the objective of our study, since it takes into consideration psychological, sociological and cultural factors to understand CPV. The goals of the study were: 1) to delimit the risk factors for the development of CPV following the conceptual framework of the Ecological Theory; 2) to identify the risk factors for CPV according to the sex differences of victims and aggressors; and 3) to analyze the limitations of current knowledge about the risk factors for CPV and establish future lines of research.


This study is a scoping review, following the PRISMA guidelines for scoping reviews (Tricco et al., 2018).

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Concerning the inclusion criteria of the articles, all those that met the following aspects were selected: a) analyzed the risk factors associated with CPV; b) the sample was of community, clinical and/or judicial origin and was made up of adolescents or young people and/or parents; c) published during 2012–2022. This eligibility criterion is used because in Europe there was an increase in the figures of CPV around 2012, leading to its consideration as a form of domestic violence in some countries. Consequently, there has been a surge in interest in its studying and intervening. For instance, between 2013 and 2015, the action-research project “Responding to CPV”—was implemented in five European countries with the goal of modifying violent behavior among children towards their parents (Wilcox & Pooley, 2015).

Regarding the exclusion criteria, those studies that involved theoretical or systematic reviews, meta-analyses, case studies, expert opinions, or therapeutic experiences were discarded.

Search Strategy

Empirical articles, from 2012 to 2022, were selected from the following databases: Scopus, Web of Science, Dialnet Plus, ERIC, PsycInfo, PsycArticles, Psychology Database and Pubmed. The Boolean operator “OR” was used. The keywords used were: “children violence to parents” OR “parents abused by their children” OR “adolescent violence towards parents” OR “abuse of parents by their teenage” OR “child to parent violence” OR “adolescent to parents abuse” OR “child to parent aggression”.

Study Eligibility

The initial screening of the studies was carried out independently by two team researchers, reading the title and abstract of the articles, verifying whether the inclusion and exclusion criteria were met, and eliminating 802 articles. Subsequently, all the team researchers determined the inclusion of the article as definitive by reading the full text, independently recording the data of the articles, discussing the results, and determining which variables to extract. The data extracted from the 52 articles were recorded in a table (see Fig. 1), which specified the methodological characteristics of the articles, as well as the variables considered as risk factors for CPV. The Mendeley manager was used to enter the articles and remove duplicates.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Flow diagram showing the process of study selection and inclusion

Likewise, the scientific rigor of the selected articles was evaluated, using the following criteria: a) Credibility, that is, veracity and objectivity of the data obtained (Polit & Beck, 2012); b) Transferability, that is, the results of the study can be applicable and generalizable (Houghton et al., 2013); c) Legitimacy, transferring the data without altering the results of the articles.


Characteristics of the Methodology of the Studies

Most of the studies came from Spain, making up 78.85% of the sample analyzed (n = 41). The rest of the research was developed in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Asia, South America, and Mexico (n = 11). Most of the studies analyzed used a correlational design, specifically, 34 had a cross-sectional correlational design, and 8 had a longitudinal correlational design; 8 studies were quasi-experimental cross-sectional, and 2 were qualitative works.

Of the studies analyzed, 76.92% were carried out in the community context (n = 40), 7.69% in the judicial area (n = 4), 1.92% in the clinical setting (n = 1) and the rest, that is, 13.46%, combined the community, judicial, and/or clinical contexts (n = 7).

Regarding the informants of the studies, 61.54% were adolescents aged between 11–18 years (n = 32), 7.69% were youths aged between 18 – 28 years (n = 4), 19.23% were adolescents and youths (n = 10), 3.85% were adolescents and their parents (n = 2), 1.92% were parents only (n = 1), 1.85% were parents, extended family, and professionals (n = 2) and 1.92% were children aged between 9–10 years and parents (n = 1) (Table 1).

Table 1 Risk factors for child-to-parent violence

Regarding the differences according to sex, 45.45% of the articles analyzed the differences according to the aggressor’s sex (Beckmann et al., 2021; Calvete et al., 2012; del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2018; Ibabe et al., 2013; Loinaz et al., 2020; López-Martínez et al., 2021; Martínez-Ferrer et al., 2020; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022; Rico et al., 2017; Suárez-Relinque et al., 2020), and 30.30% did so according to the parent’s sex (Calvete et al., 2014a, 2020; Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a, 2021b; Lyons et al., 2015).

Risk Factors for Child-to-Parent Violence

The research evaluated in the study shows risk factors at the individual, family, and social levels for the development of CPV. They can be grouped into three blocks of results: individual factors or ontogenic level, family factors or microsystem, and social factors or exosystem (Table 1).

Individual Factors (ontogenic level)

The studies analyzed highlight the aggressor’s sex as a risk factor for the commission of CPV. Most authors find similarities in CPV in terms of the aggressor’s sex. Nonetheless, this varies depending on the samples analyzed. In the case of community samples, the proportion of female and male aggressors is similar, but in forensic samples, the proportion of males is higher (Simmons et al., 2018). There is also more controversy regarding differences in the aggressor’s sex concerning the type of CPV performed. For example, some authors find no differences in the perpetration of psychological and physical abuse towards parents between girls and boys, whereas other studies report girls’ higher rates of psychological CPV than boys’ (Beckmann, 2020; Calvete et al., 2012; Papamichail & Bates, 2022).

Another individual-level factor is the minor aggressors’ personality characteristics. Authors highlight impulsivity, irritability, lack of empathy, and reflective capacity or low frustration tolerance as risk factors for the development of CPV (del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2020; Kuay et al., 2021; Loinaz & de Sousa, 2020; Rosado et al., 2017). Likewise, psychopathological symptomatology is another risk variable for the development of CPV. Symptoms such as hostility, paranoid ideation, anxiety, borderline traits, depression, or antisocial behaviors may be related to CPV (Cuervo, 2021; Cuervo and Palanques, 2022; Martínez-Ferrer et al., 2020).

Finally, substance consumption has been another variable in this group of risk factors, with studies indicating occasional substance consumption in approximately 60% – 70% of the sample of minor aggressors analyzed. Overall, authors note that alcohol and drug use may be predictors of CPV (Beckmann, 2020; Cortina & Martín, 2020; del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2018; Ibabe et al., 2014; Ruiz-Fernández et al., 2021).

Family Factors (microsystem level)

At the microsystem level, most of the results of the studies evaluated indicate that mothers are more frequent victims of CPV than fathers (Calvete et al., 2014a, 2015b; Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a; Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021; Ruiz-Fernández et al., 2021). Continuing at this level, the results of research establish exposure to domestic violence (both direct and indirect) and parental abuse in childhood as main predictors of CPV, which would confirm the hypothesis of bidirectionality of violence. According to this hypothesis, being a victim of domestic violence predicts being an aggressor (Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a; Cuervo, 2021; Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021; Loinaz et al., 2020). On the other hand, some studies indicate ineffective educational styles as a variable that precipitates CPV, that is, the use of coercive strategies (physical punishment, response cost, etc.), permissive styles or overprotection and lack of communication and affection could lead to CPV (Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a; Cortina & Martín, 2020; del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2018; Kuay et al., 2021). Finally, according to the family structure, adoption or reconstituted families could be variables associated with CPV (Cuervo, 2021).

Other factors related to the family system are bonding, communication and the attachment style developed. Thus, low levels of communication and affection, together with ineffective parental educational styles, could lead to an increase in CPV rates (Ibabe & Bentler, 2016; López-Martínez et al., 2019). Another variable considered in the development of CPV is emotional security in the family system, finding a relationship between strategies that imply emotional insecurity in the family (concern and disengagement) and the development of CPV (Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021).

Social Factors (exosystem level)

At the exosystem level, peer violence is a relevant predictor of CPV. Specifically, studies suggest that being a victim of violence in peer relationships can increase the probability of performing CPV (Carrascosa et al., 2018; del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2020; López-Martínez et al., 2021).

In addition, other authors highlight that social (social aggressiveness) and school maladjustment (rejection of school discipline and aversion to teachers), as well as the influence of conflictive classmates or peers could increase CPV (del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2020; Ibabe et al., 2014). However, recent research indicates dating violence in adolescents is a risk factor for the development of CPV, finding an association between being an aggressor of dating violence and committing CPV (Fernández-González et al., 2021; Martí et al., 2020).

Differences Depending on the Sex of the Aggressor and the Victim

Next, are included the results of the investigations divided into two blocks, taking into account the differences in individual, family, and social risk factors depending on the sex of the aggressor and the victim (Table 2).

Table 2 Risk factors for child-to-parent violence depending on the aggressor’s sex and victim’s sex

Differences Depending on the Aggressor’s Sex

Individual Factors (ontogenic level)

Regarding individual or ontogenic-level risk factors, a study carried out with a clinical and judicial sample indicates that female aggressors have a lower level of self-esteem, whereas male aggressors have more problems of substance abuse and escalation of violence -a progressive increase in the severity and frequency of violent behavior- (Loinaz et al., 2020). Authors also report differences in the psychopathological symptomatology depending on the aggressor’s sex, indicating that female aggressors show higher levels of psychopathological symptomatology and suicidal ideation and lower levels of family self-concept (a person’s perception of him/herself as a member of a family, which is constructed through the interpretation and evaluation of family experiences and relationships) than males who perform CPV (Calvete et al., 2012; Martínez-Ferrer et al., 2020). Similarly, other authors report that interpersonal sensitivity, that is a person’s ability to perceive, understand and respond appropriately to the emotions and needs of others in social interaction, is related to CPV in the case of male aggressors, and obsessions and paranoid ideation in the case of female aggressors (Rosado et al., 2017). Regarding cognitive schemas, Calvete et al. (2015a) point out that the schema of disconnection and rejection, that includes beliefs that others will hurt, abuse or humiliate and the feeling of being emotionally rejected and defective, predicts CPV both in boys and girls, but the narcissism schema only in boys.

Family Factors (microsystem level)

In relation to the risk factors of the microsystem, authors point out that the negative effect of punitive discipline during childhood is more significant in the case of male aggressors than in females; that is, the bidirectionality of family violence is greater in boys (Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a; Ibabe et al., 2013). Other studies suggest a significant relationship between being a girl and using the strategy of disengagement in the family system (a response to conflicts’ situations in the family involving a pattern of behavior in which there is an emotional and/or physical distancing from members of the family system) and committing more CPV towards the mother. In contrast, there is a relationship between being a boy and more justification of violence and performing CPV towards the mother (Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021).

Social Factors (exosystem level)

Concerning the exosystem, there are differences in the predictive role of dating violence in adolescents depending on the aggressor’s sex. Thus, girls who perform psychological CPV also commit more psychological dating violence, whereas this relationship does not occur in the case of boys. Moreover, boys who commit physical CPV towards the mother also commit more physical dating aggression, whereas girls who commit physical CPV towards the father also perform more physical dating violence (Martí et al., 2020).

Differences Depending on the Victim’s Sex

Individual Factors (ontogenic level)

Considering individual risk factors or ontogenic level, various investigations establish differences in proactive and reactive aggression, the components of social information-processing, cognitive schemas or narcissistic self-perception, interpersonal sensitivity and obsessions, depending on the parent’s sex (Calvete et al., 2015b; Rosado et al., 2017). Proactive and reactive peer aggression are related to CPV towards the mother (Kuay et al., 2021). Regarding the components of social information-processing, anger and hostile attribution predict CPV towards the mother, whereas access to an aggressive response predicts CPV towards both parents. In relation to cognitive schemas, the grandiosity schema predicts CPV towards the mother, and the schemas of abandonment, defect, and justification of violence are predictors of CPV towards both parents (Orue et al., 2019).

Family Factors (microsystem level)

Based on the risk factors of the microsystem, Calvete et al. (2015b) indicate that being a victim or a witness of domestic violence increases the probability of exercising CPV towards both parents. Further, studies of Calvete et al. (2020) indicate that exposure to violence in the family predicts CPV towards the father. On the other hand, some research indicates a relationship between psychological childhood abuse and verbal CPV towards the mother, and between physical childhood abuse and physical CPV towards the mother. These relationships do not occur in the case of CPV towards the father (Lyons et al., 2015). The results of other studies find an association between mother-to-child violence and CPV towards the mother and father-to-child violence and CPV towards the father (Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a).

Social Factors (exosystem level)

In relation to the exosystem factors, the results of the study conducted by Ruiz-Fernández et al. (2021) indicate a relationship between exposure to video games and lower rates of CPV towards both parents. However, different results are found regarding the effects of the flow and absorption dimensions of video games depending on the parent’s sex. The flow dimension during video game exposure (i.e., the feeling of being in control, merging with the activity, and experiencing distortions in time perception) was associated with a higher level of CPV toward the mother, whereas the flow and absorption dimensions (total engagement in the current experience) were associated with higher CPV toward the father. Therefore, in general, the results show that the consumption of violent video games can reduce CPV rates, but the subject’s engagement and their dimensions of flow and absorption must also be considered. On the other hand, Kuay et al (2021) propose that proactive and reactive peer aggression is significantly related to CPV towards the mother, but not towards the father.


The objective of the present study was to identify the available evidence about individual, family, and social risk factors for the development of CPV, as well as the differences found in the investigations according to the sex of the aggressor and the victim.

In relation to the characteristics of the 52 studies analyzed, we observe that most of them use a community sample, followed by the judicial and clinical samples. As previous research indicates, CPV prevalence levels vary depending on the type of sample used (Simmons et al., 2018). The type of CPV varies depending on the source of the sample, with psychological violence rates are higher in community studies and physical and severe violence are higher in the studies based on judicial samples (Cuervo and Palanques, 2022; Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021). Similarly, the risk factors for the development of CPV may vary different depending on the type of sample. Studies indicate that underage aggressors who come from judicial samples have higher levels of peer violence, lower emotional intelligence, a more negative family self-concept and more antisocial attitudes than aggressors from the general population (Carrascosa et al., 2018; Contreras & Cano, 2015b; Hernández et al., 2020; Ibabe et al., 2014). Most of the studies assessing sex differences in risk factors are community-based, finding differences in personality traits, distress, suicidal ideation, or peer victimization (Beckmann et al., 2021; Martínez-Ferrer et al., 2020). However, there is no research evaluating sex differences in risk factors by sample type. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct clinical, judicial and community studies to compare differences in risk factors according to sex.

In addition, the studies identified in this review were mainly Spanish (Calvete et al., 2012; Contreras & Cano, 2015b; del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2018; Ibabe et al., 2013; Rosado et al., 2017), with less research developed in other countries, especially those that do not belong to Europe. The studies analyzed from Mexico, Germany, Asia, or Canada show relevant aspects for the clarification of risk factors for CPV. The scarcity of studies carried out in some countries leads to a lack of knowledge about the prevalence levels of CPV at the international level, as well as the risk factors that may contribute to it due to cultural influence (macrosystem). CPV is often a hidden problem due to shame, fear of the children’s reactions, or the desire to protect the family image. Therefore, different family socialization processes can vary across cultural context, consequently influencing CPV research (Ibabe, 2015). For example, while most of the studies analyzed in this review focus on CPV in Western countries, fewer studies have been carried out in Eastern countries. This disparity may be attributed to cultural aspects such as the influence of filial piety in Asian cultures, which emphasizes respect for parents, elders and ancestors. As a result, the prevalence of CPV may be lower or not extensively researched in these countries, leading to a lack of knowledge about this phenomenon.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the research included in this review are cross-sectional studies, with longitudinal studies being very scarce. The longitudinal investigations evaluated clarify some of the risk factors for CPV, establishing causal relationships between the variables analyzed. The authors of these studies point to physical or verbal abuse by parents as a predictor of CPV (Calvete et al., 2015b; del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2018; Izaguirre & Calvete, 2017; Margolin & Baucom, 2014). Likewise, other authors indicate that the components of the social information-processing concerning aggressive responses and anger or the cognitive schemas of abandonment, grandiosity, or justification of violence predict CPV (Orue et al., 2019). This type of research has relevant practical implications and is very important for the generation of prevention programs and intervention in CPV. However, the scarcity of longitudinal studies makes it impossible to establish causal relationships between the variables, so it is essential to carry out more extensive longitudinal studies.

Regarding the information extracted about the risk factors for CPV, numerous studies were found that analyze variables based on the Ecological Theory (individual, family and social factors) (Calvete et al., 2012; Contreras & Cano, 2015a; del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2018; Margolin & Baucom, 2014; Rico et al., 2017; Zhang et al., 2019). In addition, some authors indicate interrelationships between variables within different subsystem. For example, studies have shown a relationship between peer violence and CPV, as well as an association between committing CPV and dating violence in adolescents and specific cognitive schemas. For instance, the cognitive schema of distrust would predict an increase in dating violence, whereas schemes of grandiosity and insufficient self-control would predict CPV. These results indicate that the processing of social information could mediate the relationship between CPV and other violent behaviors (Carrascosa et al., 2018; López-Martínez et al., 2021; Martí et al., 2020). Moreover, recent studies have found a relationship between exposure to violence and CPV, this relationship being mediated by the justification of violence and emotional insecurity (Junco-Guerrero et al., 2021). Additionally, there is a relationship between violence from parents to children, exposure to violence between parents, various psychological stressors and CPV (Cano-Lozano et al., 2021b). This evidence suggests that CPV prevention must occur not only at the individual level, but also at the family and societal level. However, despite previous research on risk factors for CPV, there are still gaps in our knowledge, particularly regarding these social variables.

In response to the second objective of the present study, we found a scarcity of research evaluating differences in the predictors of CPV according to the sex of the aggressor and the victim. Regarding the individual, familial and social risk factors for CPV depending on the sex of the aggressor, several studies have examined the differences in personality characteristics and psychopathological symptoms between boys and girls who commit CPV (Calvete et al., 2012; Cano-Lozano et al., 2021a; Ibabe et al., 2013; Loinaz et al., 2020; Martí et al., 2020). For instance, the relationship between cognitive schemas, childhood abuse, emotional security in the family system or dating violence and CPV varies depending on the aggressor’s sex. This implies that further research is needed on the risk factors for CPV, taking into account the differences according to the sex of the aggressor. Additionally, prevention and intervention programs should address these differences.

Finally, regarding the risk factors for CPV depending on the victim’s sex, previous research indicates relevant aspects for prevention and intervention in CPV, although they are still insufficient. For example, some authors find differences in the processing of social information or cognitive schemas depending on the victim’s sex are noteworthy (Calvete et al., 2015a; Orue et al., 2019) or in the relationship between child abuse and CPV depending on the victim’s sex. This implies that the prevention and intervention in CPV must take consider the victim’s sex, as the risk factors in the development of CPV may vary. Moreover, advancing our knowledge in this area could expand the resources available for intervention in the risk factors for CPV depending on the victim’s sex, given the limited number of studies that have evaluate, for example, the differences in the factors of the exosystem according to the victim’s sex.

Previous literature has developed different interpretations for these differences found. The neuroendocrine model of aggression posits an association between the aggressive feelings and male gonadal activity, which would explain the higher rates of aggressive behavior. However, several authors argue that, in humans, the effect of testosterone on aggression is less clear (Kandel et al., 2001). Feminist Theories have found that mothers often experience CPV the most (Dobash & Dobash, 2004). Along this line, according to the Social Learning Theory, some studies relate marital violence to CPV, and this may be one of the factors explaining why the mother is the most frequent victim (Bandura, 1973). On the other hand, Ecological Theories (Hong et al., 2012) proposes that one of the systems that include risk factors for CPV is the macrosystem, with gender roles being the main variable. This theory could explain differences in risk factors depending on the sex of the victim and the aggressor, due to the different socialization processes.


During the development of the scoping review, we have identified some limitations that should be taken into account, as they can influence the interpretation of the results obtained. First, there is a very limited number of longitudinal studies, with most of the analyzed studies being cross-sectional, limiting the generation of causal relationships between the variables. A greater number of longitudinal studies would be needed to establish causal relationships between individual, family, and social variables and CPV. In addition, most of the studies included in this study were carried out in Spain, which may limit the generalizability of the results due to cultural differences. Hence, it would be advisable to carry out research at an international level, particularly outside Europe and United States. This would enhance our understanding of CPV in other countries, and shed light on the influence of cultural factors (macrosystem) that may modify the prevalence in CPV and the risk factors that increase it. Likewise, a large number of the empirical investigations evaluated used a single informant as a participant, which could lead to a bias in the information, as other important perspectives for our knowledge of the phenomenon, such as those provided by the parents, educators, or other professionals are lacking. It would be appropriate to develop studies that have several informants from different fields, as it would provide a complete and comprehensive knowledge of CPV. On the other hand, the studies analyzed usually present a retrospective design, that is, based on the participants’ memory, which can lead to a bias in the information obtained and the knowledge extracted from the investigations.


This scoping review has analyzed 52 studies that evaluate individual, family, and social risk factors for the commission of CPV, as well as the analysis of these variables according to the sex of the aggressor and the victim. This study has theoretical and practical implications. On the one hand, this research contributes to a better understanding of the factors that increase CPV, thus allowing the development of interventions and preventive programs. It can also help health, education, and justice professionals to better identify CPV and develop effective strategies. Information about how personality characteristics, psychopathological symptoms, or substance abuse in aggressors can assist professionals in developing techniques aimed at enhancing emotional self-regulation strategies among aggressors. Additionally, the impact of family factors as risk variables for CPV emphasizes the need for practitioners to intervene within the whole family system when this issue arises. Professionals can provide parents with strategies to address their children’s violent behavior, as proposed by the Non-Violent Resistance or Break4Change models (Wilcox & Pooley, 2015). For instance, practitioners could increase positive communication in families, involving all members of the system or provide parents with tools which they commit not to respond to their child’s violence and increase their positive presence as caregivers. Moreover, the understanding that there exists a connection between peer violence and CPV implies that professionals should not only intervene within the individual or family context, but also within the social and educational domains. This involves developing psychoeducational projects in children and adolescents that focus on preventing violent behavior.

On the other hand, this study helps identify the influence of sex on the risk factors associated with CPV, providing insights into the variations in the prevalence of CPV, as well as the specific needs related to sex in the prevention and treatment of CPV. It also facilitates the development of sex-specific programs and services. For instance, understanding that there are differences in personality characteristics and cognitive schemas between boys and girls that influence CPV indicates that professionals need to develop distinct objectives and techniques in interventions based on the sex of the aggressor. Moreover, the variations in risk factors for CPV based on the sex of the victim also suggest the need for tailored intervention strategies. For example, some authors have found a correlation between childhood abuse and CPV towards the mother, or between exposure to violence in home and CPV towards the father. This implies that professionals should equip parents with tools for positive and caregiving to prevent CPV. Taking proactive measures, such as establishing parent training programmes that conduct psychoeducational activities to address violent behavior and promoting the development of secure and non-violent family environments, aligns with this preventive approach.

The results in general are not conclusive, so at present, we do not have a consensual and valid theoretical model that specifies which variables belonging to the levels of the ecological model (ontogenic, microsystem, and exosystem) are at the basis of the generation and increase of CPV. The main conclusions we draw from our study are: a) There are individual, family, and social variables that could constitute risk factors for the commission of CPV; b) Some risk variables for CPV could have a different impact depending on the sex of the aggressor and the; c) There are gaps in the knowledge of the specification of the risk factors for CPV, especially those of the exosystem level or social variables; d) There is no agreed theoretical model that presents the factors that explain the phenomenon of CPV. Therefore, we conclude that more research is needed on the risk factors of CPV, developing longitudinal studies that establish causal relationships between the variables and bearing in mind in the investigations that CPV should be considered a multifactorial phenomenon, taking into account the variables of all the systems that surround the young aggressor and their parents. The generation of a theoretical model that establishes the factors by which CPV occurs would not only imply an advance in the knowledge of this continuously increasing violence, but would also lay the foundations for the development of intervention and prevention programs to reduce CPV, and, therefore, the suffering that it generates in the minors, their families, and society in general.