Intimate partner violence and child maltreatment: Understanding intra- and intergenerational connections

Lynette M. Renner, Kristen Shook Slack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study is to assess the extent to which intimate partner violence and different forms of child maltreatment occur within and across childhood and adulthood for a high-risk group of women. Method: Low-income adult women were interviewed, retrospectively, regarding their experiences with intimate partner violence and child maltreatment in childhood and adulthood, and intra- and intergenerational relationships between multiple forms of family violence were identified. Results: Analyses demonstrated weak to moderate associations between various forms of violence within generations. Only weak support was found for the transmission of violence hypothesis that maltreated children are more likely to grow up to maltreat their own children. Stronger support was found for the theory of learned helplessness, whereby children maltreated or witness to violence during childhood are more likely to be victimized as an adult. Conclusion: The results from this study suggest that interventions with children who are identified for one form of victimization should be assessed for other forms of victimization, and interventions should also address learned behaviors or beliefs associated with continued or future victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-617
Number of pages19
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Child maltreatment
  • Domestic violence
  • Family violence


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