Cross-Generational Transmission of Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of Direction and Dynamics

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Studies of the cross-generational transmission of intimate partner violence (IPV) have yielded controversial findings about the centrality of child abuse (CA) and child exposure to parental violence (EIPV) as a risk factor for interpersonal violent relationships in adulthood. This cross-sectional study examines the intergenerational cycle of IPV by differentiating the gender of the parent and the directionality of violence. The purpose of the study was to test (a) the prevalence of the three patterns of IPV as suggested in Straus’s (2015) Dyadic Type’s typology (e.g., man only, woman only, or both) for both CA and EIPV; (b) the relevance of the Dyadic Type’s Typology of IPV on the cross-generational transmission of IPV; and (c) whether the gender of the violent parent has any differential effect on the cross-generational transmis¬sion of IPV. A total of 1,196 Israeli Jewish and Arab students completed a cross-sectional self-report questionnaire, retrospectively addressing CA and EIPV in their childhood family environment and their own IPV experience as adults. Our findings show that among families in which any one of the three violent dyads took place, the involvement of both parents in the violent dyad is the prevalent one and raises the highest risk for cross-generational transmission of IPV in adulthood. Utilizing the Dyadic Type’s typology proved insightful in mapping the prevalence of CA, EIPV, and IPV in three ways: (a) it more accurately maps the prevalence of the different IPV dynamics than does the “dichotomous lens,” (b) it highlights the interactive violent dynamic as the prevalent one, and (c) it shows that exposure to aggression by both parents seems to be the strongest predictor of cross-generational transmission of IPV. Overall, the present study contributes to the developing understand¬ing of interactions between retrospectively reported experiences of exposure to IPV and one’s own current behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-40
Number of pages19
JournalPartner Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Springer Publishing Company.


  • measurement of partner abuse
  • overlap between perpetration and victimization
  • prevalence and characteristics of partner abuse
  • the effects of partner abuse on children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Law


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