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Perpetration Patterns and Environmental Contexts of IPV in Sweden: Relationships With Adult Mental Health

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2014 Pages: 147-158
Laura E. Miller; Asa Kallstrom Cater; Kathryn H. Howell; Sandra A. Graham-Bermann
Date Published
January 2014
12 pages
The two aims of this Swedish study were to assess whether the severity of intimate partner violence (IPV) varies by perpetration pattern and environmental context, as well as to determine how perpetration patterns and environmental contexts of IPV witnessed as children influence adult mental health.
The study found that IPV perpetrated in public by fathers was more severe and was related to poorer mental health outcomes in adulthood for child witnesses of this IPV pattern. Although a majority of participants reported that IPV occurred in a private setting, primarily in the home, a significant minority of IPV occurred in public settings, including the child's school or a recreation center. This context for IPV was more likely to be severe and chronic than IPV that occurred in a private setting. The violence perpetrated by father figures was almost always more severe than any other perpetration pattern. The multivariate regression model also indicated that witnessing IPV in public was a significant contributor to adult posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, but not anxiety and depression, even after controlling for total violence severity. The experience of father-only IPV perpetration was related to reported anxiety and PTSD symptoms in adulthood for child witnesses of such IPV. Study participants were 703 Swedish adults who reported exposure to IPV in childhood. They provided an extensive history of their exposure to IPV and maltreatment experiences during childhood. Mean comparison and multivariate regression methods were used to assess differences in violence severity by reported perpetration pattern (mother-only, father-only, bidirectional, or other). These methods were also used in determining the association between violence severity and environmental context, as well as the contribution of these characteristics to adult mental health outcomes. 2 tables, 2 figures, and 45 references