An Updated Review of the Literature on LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence
Purpose of Review
This paper reviews the LGBTQ+ intimate partner violence (IPV) literature published since 2015.
Though LGBTQ+ IPV mirrors heterosexual cisgender IPV in most ways, sexual and gender minorities face higher rates of IPV, potentially worse outcomes, and different IPV trajectories. Therefore, shared risk factors cannot fully explain these differences. Researchers attribute this variability to minority stress, such as sexuality-based discrimination and internalized homophobia, which explain differences in IPV among LGBTQ+ individuals and heterosexual cisgender individuals. Indeed, recent findings support the importance of minority stress factors, especially internalized homophobia, as risk factors for IPV.
Future research should focus on identifying protective factors against IPV within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as improving understanding of the variables that influence IPV at various levels of the social ecological model. Strategies for the prevention and intervention of LGBTQ+ IPV remain under-researched and poorly understood. Reducing minority stress is likely to be a key part of IPV prevention and intervention among LGBTQ+ persons.
KeywordsIntimate partner violence Dating violence Sexual minority LGB Transgender Gender nonconforming
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
- 1.•• Edwards KM, Sylaska KM, Neal AM. Intimate partner violence among sexual minority populations: a critical review of the literature and agenda for future research. Psychol Violence. 2015;5:112–21. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038656 This systematic review of the IPV literature on sexual minority populations provides a comprehensive examination of published empirical work in the field from 1999 to 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 6.Langenderfer-Magruder L, Whitfield DL, Walls NE, Kattari SK, Ramos D. Experiences of intimate partner violence and subsequent police reporting among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer adults in Colorado: comparing rates of cisgender and transgender victimization. J. Interpers. Violence. 2015;31:855–71. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260514556767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 7.Langenderfer-Magruder L, Walls NE, Whitfield DL, Brown SM, Barrett CM. Partner violence victimization among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth: associations among risk factors. Child Adolesc Soc Work J. 2016;33:55–68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-015-0402-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 8.Beymer MR, Harawa NT, Weiss RE, Shover CL, Toynes BR, Meanley S, et al. Are partner race and intimate partner violence associated with incident and newly diagnosed HIV infection in African-American men who have sex with men? J Urban Health. 2017;94:666–75. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-017-0169-7.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 11.McCauley HL, Silverman JG, Decker MR, Agénor M, Borrero S, Tancredi DJ, et al. Sexual and reproductive health indicators and intimate partner violence victimization among female family planning clinic patients who have sex with women and men. J Women's Health. 2015;24:621–9. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2014.5032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 12.• Coston BM. Power and inequality: intimate partner violence against bisexual and non-monosexual women in the United States. J Interpers Violence 2017;1–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517726415. This study incorporates an examination of the influence of social power and sexual identity versus behavior on IPV victimization.
- 15.Black MC, Basile KC, Breiding MJ, Smith SG, Walters ML, Merrick MT, et al. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 summary report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011.Google Scholar
- 16.O’Malley Olsen E, Vivolo-Kantor A, Kann L. Physical and sexual teen dating violence victimization and sexual identity among U.S. high school students, 2015. J. Interpers. Violence 2017;1–20. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517708757.
- 20.• Stephenson R, Finneran C. Minority stress and intimate partner violence among gay and bisexual men in Atlanta. Am J Mens Health. 2017;11:952–61. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988316677506 This study addresses many of the concerns raised in earlier literature reviews on the topic of LGBTQ+ IPV, in that it strongly ties to theory, the authors measure IPV victimization and perpetration concurrently, and the IPV measure used was designed specifically for gay men.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 22.•• Edwards KM, Littleton HL, Sylaska KM, Krossman AL, Craig M. College campus community readiness to address intimate partner violence among LGBTQ+ young adults: a conceptual and empirical examination. Am J Community Psychol. 2016;58:16–26. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12068 This study examines risk of IPV perpetration and victimization at the community level.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 25.•• Martin-Storey A, Fromme K. Trajectories of dating violence: differences by sexual minority status and gender. J Adolesc. 2016;49:28–37 This study compares IPV trajectories of same-sex versus opposite-sex couples.Google Scholar
- 26.• Whitton SW, Newcomb ME, Messinger AM, Byck G, Mustanski B. A longitudinal study of IPV victimization among sexual minority youth. J. Interpers. Violence. 2016. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260516646093. This longitudinal study compares victimization between sexual minority youth and their heterosexual peers.
- 27.• Martin-Storey A, Fromme K. Mediating factors explaining the association between sexual minority status and dating violence. J Interpers Violence 2017;1–28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517726971. This longitudinal study of LGBQ+ youth examines multiple mediating risk factors between sexual minority identity and IPV across several sexual minority identities.
- 31.Edwards KM, Sylaska KM, Barry JE, Moynihan MM, Banyard VL, Cohn ES, et al. Physical dating violence, sexual violence, and unwanted pursuit victimization: a comparison of incidence rates among sexual-minority and heterosexual college students. J Interpers Violence. 2015;30:580–600. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260514535260.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 34.Graham LM, Jensen TM, Givens AD, Bowen GL, Rizo CF. Intimate partner violence among same sex couples in college: a propensity score analysis. J Interpers Violence. 2016:1–28. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260516651628.
- 36.Valentine SE, Peitzmeier SM, King DS, O'Cleirigh C, Marquez SM, Presley C, et al. Disparities in exposure to intimate partner violence among transgender/gender nonconforming and sexual minority primary care patients. LGBT Health. 2017;4:260–7. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2016.0113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar