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Developmental Antecedents of Violence Against Women: A Longitudinal Perspective

NCJ Number
Date Published
144 pages
A longitudinal study examined the developmental factors that were antecedents physical and sexual violence perpetrated against young women by acquaintances; the study used data from a 5-year study of victimization and perpetration among 2,269 college students.
The National Institute of Mental Health funded the study. The research used a theoretically based multi-causal model that included characteristics related to the victim, the perpetrator, and the environment. The participants included more than 1,500 women and 800 men who were demographically representative of undergraduate women and men in State-supported universities and born in 1972 and 1973. The surveys gathered information when the participants were 18- to 22-years-old. The analysis focused on experiences with interpersonal violence at three stages in the life course: childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Results revealed that women who were physically or sexually abused in childhood or who witnessed domestic violence in childhood were at greater risk for physical victimization, sexual victimization, or both in high school. In addition, women who were victimized in high school were at much greater risk for victimization in college. After controlling for victimization in high school, those who were abused or witnessed violence in childhood were not at greater risk for college victimization. Findings indicated the need to identify high-risk populations and direct more targeted interventions toward them and to recognize the importance of early detection and intervention for children who have witnessed family violence or experienced child sexual abuse or physical abuse. Findings also indicated the need for additional research. Footnotes, attached tables and figures, and chapter reference lists.

Date Published: January 1, 2001