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Test of Social Learning and Intergenerational Transmission Among Batterers

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 37 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2009 Pages: 163-173
Jennifer Wareham; Denise Paquette Boots; Jorge M. Chavez
Date Published
April 2009
11 pages
This study examined the direct and indirect transmission of family-of-origin violence among domestic violence offenders.
Findings suggest that a combined model incorporating social learning theory (SLT) and intergenerational transmission theory provides a more comprehensive explanation of minor and severe partner violence prevalence among men. Findings showed that a history of witnessing and experiencing domestic violence during childhood was associated with an increase in the odds of minor and severe intimate partner violence (IPV), while exposure to high levels of corporal punishment from a father-figure was associated with an increase in the odds of minor IPV. The second finding indicated that the effects of physical maltreatment on the odds of minor IPV were fully mediated by the introduction of SLT measures. The effects of physical maltreatment on the odds of severe IPV and father-figure corporal punishment on minor IPV were not mediated. The introduction of SLT measures revealed a suppression effect with regard to mother-figure corporal punishment, such that corporate punishment by a mother-figure had a significant but negative association with both minor and severe IPV; this finding suggests that intergenerational transmission and SLT provide two related but distant mechanisms for interpersonal violence. The third finding showed that the effects of social learning measures on partner violence were not dependent upon intergenerational transmission measures; the effects of mother-figure corporal punishment, however, moderated the relationship between differential associations with friends and family members who engaged in intimate violence and minor IPV. Data were collected from 204 male domestic batterers attending court-mandated family violence intervention programs in an urban setting. Figure, tables, appendix, notes, and references