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05.06.2018

Child Abuse, Risk in Male Partner Selection, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization of Women of the European Union

Zeitschrift:
Prevention Science
Autoren:
Juan Herrero, Andrea Torres, Francisco J. Rodríguez

Abstract

The revictimization of women during the life cycle has attracted the interest of many researchers in recent years. In this study, we examined the relationship between the experience of child abuse and the subsequent victimization by a male partner in adulthood. Specifically, we proposed that childhood abuse experiences negatively affect the development of healthy interpersonal relationships in adulthood. Thus, some female victims of child abuse are more likely to select potentially abusive intimate male partners. Data from 23,863 heterosexual women from the 28 countries of the European Union who were living with their partners at the time of the study were used. We investigated the association between child abuse, partner’s adherence to traditional gender roles, and general violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) against women. Multilevel structural equation modeling (MSEM) results indicated that child abuse is positively related to the partner’s traditional gender role and general violence, which in turn predict IPV. Countries’ level of human development was found to affect this process. We found support for the hypothesis that child abuse is related to IPV partially because it influences partner selection in adulthood. Thus, when they become adults, girls abused in childhood tend to select partners who are either traditional or generally violent. There is a persistent influence of social structural conditions (i.e., country’s human development) throughout this process.

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