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Keywords:

  • domestic violence;
  • gender differences;
  • mental health;
  • perpetration;
  • victimization

This study examines the prevalence and extent of domestic violence and the consequences of domestic violence for mental health outcomes in a birth cohort of New Zealand young adults studied at age 25 years. A total of 828 young people (437 women and 391 men) were interviewed about the domestic violence victimization and violence perpetration in their current or most recent partner relationship. Key findings of the study were (a) domestic conflict was present in 70% of relationships, with this conflict ranging from minor psychological abuse to severe assault; (b) men and women reported similar experiences of victimization and perpetration of domestic violence; and (c) exposure to domestic violence was significantly related to increased risks of major depression (p < .05) and suicidal ideation (p < .005) even after extensive control for covariates.