Cumulative Childhood Trauma, Communication Patterns, and Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrated by Men Seeking Help.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Interpers Violence, Volume 38, Issue 9-10, p.6843-6864 (2023)


Adverse Childhood Experiences, Humans, Intimate Partner Violence, Male, Men, Risk Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Violence


<p>Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a complex and multifactorial public health problem associated with important physical and psychological repercussions. Recent studies suggest that cumulative childhood trauma (CCT) may be related to higher IPV perpetration through dysfunctional communication patterns, but to our knowledge, no study has tested this proposition in a clinical population. This study aimed to explore the direct and indirect links between CCT and perpetrated IPV through dysfunctional communication patterns among 577 men seeking help from community centers specializing in IPV. Prior to receiving services, participants completed a battery of questionnaires including validated brief measures of CCT (sexual, physical, and psychological abuse; physical and psychological neglect; witnessing of physical and psychological parental violence; bullying), communication patterns (demand/demand, partner demands/man withdraws, man demands/partner withdraws), and IPV (psychological, physical, coercive control). Results from a path analysis reveal that having sustained a higher number of different forms of childhood trauma is directly related to men's higher risk of perpetrating psychological IPV. CCT is also indirectly related to higher perpetrated psychological and physical IPV and coercive control through a higher report of the demand/demand communication pattern and a higher report of the man demands/partner withdraws communication pattern. The tested model explains 23% of the variance in psychological IPV, 6% of the variance in physical IPV, and 12% of the variance in coercive control. Results highlight the importance of assessing, in therapy, both distal and proximal variables associated with IPV, including the accumulation of many forms of childhood interpersonal trauma, and to tailor trauma-informed interventions that promote constructive communication strategies.</p>

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