A Further Look at the Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: Witnessing Interparental Violence in Emerging Adulthood

The intergenerational transmission (IGT) of violence has been a main the oretical consideration to explain the link between interparental aggression in the family of origin and intimate partner violence (IPV) in subsequent intimate relationships. Studies have examined this theoretical link based on self reports of interparental violence witnessed during childhood and adolescence. However, no study has examined whether emerging adults who currently witness interparental violence are more likely to exhibit violence in their own intimate relationships. Data were analyzed from undergraduate students (N = 223) attending an ethnically diverse Southern California uni versity. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to examine the impact of witnessing interparental violence on the physical and psycho logical IPV experienced in emerging adult relationships. The joint effects of witnessing both forms of interparental violence were also tested. Support for the intergenerational transmission of violence was identified for specific types of violence. Future directions of study and implications for prevention and treatment are offered.

Publication Date

June 2010

Publication Name

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Violence type

David S. Black, Steve Sussman and Jennifer B. Unger