Clinically abusive relationships in an unselected birth cohort: men's and women's participation and developmental antecedents.
In an unselected birth cohort (N=980, age 24-26 years), individuals in abusive relationships causing injury and/or official intervention (9% prevalence) were compared with participants reporting physical abuse without clinical consequences and with control participants who reported no abuse, on current characteristics and prospective developmental risks. In nonclinically abusive relationships, perpetrators were primarily women. In clinically abusive relationships, men and women used physical abuse, although more women needed medical treatment for injury. Women in clinically abusive relationships had childhood family adversity, adolescent conduct problems, and aggressive personality; men had disinhibitory psychopathology since childhood and extensive personality deviance. These findings counter the hibitory assumption that if clinical abuse was ascertained in epidemiological samples, it would be primarily man-to-woman, explained by patriarchy rather than psychopathology.
Ehrensaft, MK; Moffitt, TE; Caspi, A
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