Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Perpetration Among U.S. Adults During the Earliest Stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Maxine Davis, Ohad Gilbar, Diana M. Padilla-Medina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between COVID-19 related conditions and the perpetration or experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the earliest stage of the pandemic. Methods: This cross-sectional study analyzed data collected via an internet-based survey in the spring of 2020 from an online sample of noninstitutionalized adults in the United States (N = 2,045). More than half of the sample self-identified as being in an intimate relationship at the time of the study (58.2%, n = 1,183) and were used in the analysis. A four-item tool was used to assess IPV perpetration and victimization during the earliest stage of the pandemic. Respondents self-reported demographic data and recent health histories, including COVID-19 tests results, related symptoms, and degree of personal social distancing. We hypothesized that COVID-19 related factors would increase risks of IPV. Descriptive, correlational, and generalized linear modeling analysis techniques were employed. Results: COVID-19 impacted respondents had an increased risk of IPV victimization and perpetration. Among those who reported having symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but were denied access to testing, the odds of being a victim of psychological IPV was three times more likely than those who did not have symptoms. Respondents who reported testing positive to COVID-19 were two to three times more likely to experience or perpetrate psychological and physical IPV against an intimate partner. People who lost their job due to the pandemic were three to four times more likely to perpetrate IPV compared to those who remained employed. Conclusions: Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic period, our results emphasize the need for an ongoing public-health response to IPV. Continued surveillance via effective screening, intervention development, and implementation is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-603
Number of pages21
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Springer Publishing Company, LLC.


  • COVID-19
  • domestic violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • perpetration
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Law
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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