A COUPLES ANALYSIS OF PARTNER ABUSE WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR ABUSE-PREVENTION POLICY*

Authors


  • *

    We thank the Dunedin Study members, their partners, Unit director Richie Poulton, director emeritus Phil A. Silva, the Dunedin Unit research staff and investigators, Hona Lee Harrington, Jeff Fagan, Matt Smart, Dave Maupin of Family Violence Prevention Services, the New Zealand Health Research Council, the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (MH45070, MH49414, MH56344), the British Medical Research Council, and Air New Zealand.

Send correspondence to t.moffitt@iop.kcl.ac.uk or T.E. Moffitt, SGDP Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, 111 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK.

Abstract

Research Summary: We studied a representative sample of 360 young-adult couples from a birth cohort. We found abuse was a dyadic process; both partners’ personal characteristics increased abuse risk, and both sexes participated in abuse, particularly in clinical abusive couples having injury and/or official agency intervention. Treating only men may not reduce risk completely for most young couples.

Policy Implications: If replicated, the findings would suggest policy encouraging development and evaluation of programs to reduce physical abuse by women. Prevention programs could aim to reduce abusive behavior by both sexes and promote victim safety among both sexes. Policies against treating women in abusive couples may act counter to prevention.

Ancillary