An extensive literature documents biological correlates of general aggression, but there has been less focus on biological correlates of intimate partner violence (IPV). The purpose of this review is to summarize the research literature to date that has reported on biological factors in IPV perpetration. We review the existing literature on four domains of biological processes that have been examined with respect to IPV perpetration, including: head injury and neuropsychology; psychophysiology; neurochemistry, metabolism and endocrinology; and genetics. We critique the literature, discuss the clinical relevance of research findings, and provide some recommendations for future biologically-oriented IPV research.
Intimate partner violence; biological factors; neuropsychology; psychophysiology; neurochemistry; genetics
The relation between history of violence exposure and the development of academic and mental health problems is explored. Violence exposed children have an increased risk of developing school-related problems including: mental health problems, learning disabilities, language impairments, and other neurocognitive problems. These problems interact to create a complex web of deficits and disabilities where intervention access points are difficult to assess. Often mental health problems and academic problems develop in parallel. Timing of violence exposure and the developmental stage of the child during exposure complicate our understanding of the underlying mechanism. A model is presented that explores pathways linking violence exposure to aspects of school-related functioning, both academically and behaviorally. Early life stress, in the form of violence exposure, is related to neurocognitive deficits, including executive functioning and problems in self-regulation. Deficits in self-regulation at the level of behavior, and cognitive control and executive functioning, at the level of brain processing, are related to both academic and mental health problems, suggesting a possible psychological mechanism. Biological mechanisms are also included in the model to illustrate the contribution of the stress response, neuroendocrine system response, and neuroanatomical structural and functional impairments associated with violence exposure.
Child maltreatment; language impairment; disability; externalizing behavior; internalizing behavior; self-regulation
Dating violence is a serious and prevalent problem among college-aged dating couples. Although substance use has been shown to be associated with dating violence among college students in empirical studies, the use of substances as they relate to dating violence has yet to be systematically reviewed. The purpose of the present manuscript is to review research on dating violence (perpetration and victimization) and substance use (alcohol and drugs). First, theoretical explanations for the association between substances and dating violence are presented. Second, the literature on substance use and dating violence is reviewed. The literature suggests a consistent association between alcohol and dating violence perpetration and victimization, although the association between drug use and dating violence is less clear. Implications of this review for dating violence prevention programming and future research are discussed.
Dating violence; aggression; substance use; alcohol, drugs; college students
Violence and aggression are public health problems that can benefit from ongoing research into risk reduction and prevention. Current developmental theories of violence and aggression emphasize biological and psychosocial factors, particularly during adolescence. However, there has been less focus on understanding the interactive, multiplicative effects of these processes. Furthermore, little attention has been given to the pre-, peri-, and postnatal periods, where prevention and intervention may yield effective results. Early health risk factors that influence negative behavioral outcomes include prenatal and postnatal nutrition, tobacco use during pregnancy, maternal depression, birth complications, traumatic brain injury, lead exposure, and child abuse. There is an ample literature to suggest that these early health risk factors may increase the likelihood of childhood externalizing behaviors, aggression, juvenile delinquency, adult criminal behavior, and/or violence. This paper proposes an early health risk factors framework for violence prediction, built on existing developmental theories of criminal behavior and supported by empirical findings. This framework addresses gaps in the adolescent psychopathology literature and presents a novel conceptualization of behavioral disturbance that emphasizes the pre-, peri-, and post-natal periods, when a child’s development is critical and the opportunity for behavioral and environmental modification is high. Implications for such a framework on violence prevention programs are discussed.
Health Risk Factors; Alcohol during Pregnancy; Tobacco during Pregnancy; Toxicity and Drugs During Pregnancy; Head Injury During Early Childhood; Teenage Pregnancy; Birth Complications; Malnutrition of the Pregnant Mother; Malnutrition During Early Postnatal Years; Brain Dysfunction; Aggression; Child Behavior Problems; Violence Prevention; Protective Factors; Mediating Factors; Biosocial Interaction
The present meta-analysis examined the effects of psychosocial treatments at reducing deleterious outcomes of sexual abuse. The meta-analysis included a total of 35 published and unpublished studies written in English, focusing on youth under the age of 18, and evaluating the effectiveness of treatments for the most common negative outcomes of sexual abuse: PTSD symptoms, externalizing problems, and internalizing problems. Results revealed medium effect sizes for PTSD symptoms, externalizing problems, and internalizing problems following treatment for sexual abuse. This study also examined the potential moderating effects of treatment (e.g., modality, duration, inclusion of caregiver) and participant (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity) characteristics. Results indicated that longer interventions were associated with greater treatment gains while group and individual treatments were equally effective. These findings shed new light on treatment effectiveness and provide useful information regarding the conditions under which treatment may be most effective. Future directions for research in this area are discussed.
Meta-analysis; Quantitative Review; Childhood Sexual Abuse; Treatment Outcomes
Depression is prevalent in new mothers and has been shown to have profound negative impacts on parenting, maternal life course, and child development. High rates of maternal depression have been found in home visitation, a widely disseminated prevention approach for high risk mothers and their children. This paper reviews the emerging literature on the prevalence, impact, and treatment of depression in the context of home visitation. Findings are synthesized and methodological and design limitations are considered in interpretation of results. Promising approaches to addressing maternal depression and supporting home visitors in working with this clinical population are described. Recommendations for research and practice are offered that build upon the strong foundation of current efforts in this area.
maternal depression; home visitation; screening; prevention
Although there is an extensive research literature on individual and cultural risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV), much less is known about the factors that victims and perpetrators of IPV perceive as playing a role in violent events. In part, lack of systematic research on perceived reasons for violence is due to the lack of a clear conceptual model and comprehensive measures of perceived reasons why partner violence occurs. In this paper, we provide a conceptual model for domains of factors influencing IPV and use this model to frame our review of existing research on victims' and perpetrators' explanations for IPV. We discuss differences in explanations for IPV in terms of gender and whether explanations refer to the respondents' own or their partners' use of violence. Our review findings suggest a need for more standardization of measurement and larger representative samples in order to identify more systematically reasons that are perceived by victims and perpetrators to be most the important contributors to IPV. Further research on perceived reasons for IPV also needs to address gender differences as well as differences related to self-partner attributions.
Literature Review; Intimate Partner Violence; Aggression; Motivations
Coping has been suggested as an important element in understanding the long-term functioning of individuals with a history of child sexual abuse (CSA). The present review synthesizes the literature on coping with CSA, first by examining theories of coping with trauma, and, second by examining how these theories have been applied to studies of coping in samples of CSA victims. Thirty-nine studies were reviewed, including eleven descriptive studies of the coping strategies employed by individuals with a history of CSA, eighteen correlational studies of the relationship between coping strategies and long-term functioning of CSA victims, and ten investigations in which coping was examined as a mediational factor in relation to long-term outcomes. These studies provide initial information regarding early sexual abuse and subsequent coping processes. However, this literature is limited by several theoretical and methodological issues, including a failure to specify the process of coping as it occurs, a disparity between theory and research, and limited applicability to clinical practice. Future directions of research are discussed and include the need to understand coping as a process, identification of coping in relation to adaptive outcomes, and considerations of more complex mediational and moderational processes in the study of coping with CSA.
childhood sexual abuse; coping strategies; childhood trauma; adult female victims; methods of coping
This review examines what have been, to this point, generally two divergent lines of research: (a) effects of parental drug abuse on children, and (b) effects of children’s exposure to interparental violence. A small, but growing body of literature has documented the robust relationship between drug use and intimate partner violence. Despite awareness of the interrelationship, little attention has been paid to the combined effect of these deleterious parent behaviors on children in these homes. Thus, we argue for the need to examine the developmental impact of these behaviors (both individually and combined) on children in these homes and for treatment development to reflect how each of these parent behaviors may affect children of substance abusers.
Children of Substance Abusers; Parental Drug Abuse Interparental Violence
As a minority ethnic group, Native Hawaiian youth and young adults face an array of issues associated with colonization, such as persistent structural discrimination and the loss of land and indigenous ways of knowing. They are also at risk for a wide range of negative behaviors, including interpersonal violence, suicide, substance use, and juvenile delinquency. This article explores how community youth development, critical pedagogies, and Hawaiian epistemology can help Native Hawaiian young adults cope with such issues. It begins with a brief discussion of critiques on conventional youth violence prevention programs. To address these critiques, three bodies of literature are introduced: 1) community youth development, 2) critical pedagogy, and 3) community epistemology. Data were derived from a single case study of a community-based youth program. The program, located in an impoverished, rural community in Hawai‘i, entailed running an organic farm. Seventeen participants were involved in the study. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. Utilizing critical indigenous qualitative research, a content analysis of the interviews was conducted to build a working conceptual model. Preliminary findings suggest that a program with key processes of community youth development, critical pedagogies, and Hawaiian epistemology may serve as a vehicle for health and wellness, thus preventing a host of negative behaviors, such as violence. Based on the findings, a critical contextually based approach to violence prevention that focuses on providing opportunities for Native Hawaiian young adults to take an active participatory role in promoting health is proposed.
Native Hawaiian youth; Native Hawaiian young adults; community youth development; critical pedagogy; Hawaiian epistemology
Impulsive aggression is characterized by an inability to regulate affect as well as aggressive impulses, and is highly comorbid with other mental disorders including depression, suicidal behavior, and substance abuse. In an effort to elucidate the neurobiological underpinnings of impulsive aggression and to help account for its connections with these other disorders, this paper reviews relevant biochemical, brain imaging, and genetic studies. The review suggests that dysfunctional interactions between serotonin and dopamine systems in the prefrontal cortex may be an important mechanism underlying the link between impulsive aggression and its comorbid disorders. Specifically, serotonin hypofunction may represent a biochemical trait that predisposes individuals to impulsive aggression, with dopamine hyperfunction contributing in an additive fashion to the serotonergic deficit. The current paper proposes a modified diathesis-stress model of impulsive aggression in which the underlying biological diathesis may be deficient serotonergic function in the ventral prefrontal cortex. This underlying disposition can be manifested behaviorally as impulsive aggression towards oneself and others, and as depression under precipitating life stressors. Substance abuse associated with impulsive aggression is understood in the context of dopamine dysregulation resulting from serotonergic deficiency. Also discussed are future research directions in the neurobiology of impulsive aggression and its comorbid disorders.
Resident-to-resident aggression (RRA) between long-term care residents includes negative and aggressive physical, sexual, or verbal interactions that in a community setting would likely be construed as unwelcome and have high potential to cause physical or psychological distress in the recipient. Although this problem potentially has high incidence and prevalence and serious consequences for aggressors and victims, it has received little direct attention from researchers to date. This article reviews the limited available literature on this topic as well as relevant research from related areas including: resident violence toward nursing home staff, aggressive behaviors by elderly persons, and community elder abuse. We present hypothesized risk factors for aggressor, victim, and nursing home environment, including issues surrounding cognitive impairment. We discuss methodological challenges to studying RRA and offer suggestions for future research. Finally, we describe the importance of designing effective interventions, despite the lack currently available, and suggest potential areas of future research.
aggressive behavior; nursing homes; dementia; epidemiology
Building upon the link between inadequate parenting and child noncompliance, aggression, and oppositionality, behavioral parent training has been identified as a well-established treatment for externalizing problems in children. Much less empirical attention has been devoted to examining whether inadequate parenting and, in turn, behavioral parent training programs, have specific effects on child externalizing problems or more diffuse effects on both internalizing and externalizing problems. As an initial attempt to examine the specificity of parenting and childhood externalizing problems, this review examines prior research on the association of three parenting behaviors (parental warmth, hostility, and control) with child externalizing versus internalizing problems. Notably, findings revealed relatively little evidence for the specificity of parenting and child externalizing behaviors in the general parenting literature or in the family context of parent depression. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Parenting specificity; externalizing problems; internalizing problems; parenting behavior