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Childhood physical abuse and physical dating violence in young adulthood: The mediating role of adverse mental health

NCJ Number
Journal of Clinical Psychology Volume: 75 Issue: 10 Dated: 2019 Pages: 1916-1929
Date Published
14 pages

This study examined whether adverse mental health (i.e., symptoms of anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression) mediated the relationship between childhood physical abuse (CPA) and physical dating violence (DV) victimization/perpetration in young adulthood. 


The study used four waves of data from an ongoing longitudinal study. The sample consisted of 864 adolescents, including 282 Hispanic Americans, 248 European Americans, 240 African Americans, and 94 “other,” with a mean age of 17 years at Wave 3. Structural equation modeling suggested that posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms mediated the link between CPA and both physical DV victimization (β = .06, 95 percent CI: 0.01, 0.11) and perpetration (β = .07, 95 percent CI: 0.02, 0.13). Anxiety and depressive symptoms, however, did not show significant indirect effects. These findings highlight the importance of interventions that target posttraumatic stress symptoms for adolescents who experienced CPA in preventing physical DV in young adulthood. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019