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Violence Vict. 2006 Dec;21(6):675-90.

An examination of pathways from childhood victimization to violence: the role of early aggression and problematic alcohol use.

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John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Psychology Department, City University of New York, NY 10019, USA.


Using prospective data from a cohort design study involving documented cases of child abuse and neglect and a matched control group, we examine two potential pathways between childhood victimization and violent criminal behavior: early aggressive behavior and problematic drinking. Structural equation models, including controls for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, parental alcoholism, and parental criminality, revealed different pathways for men and women. For men, child maltreatment has direct and indirect (through aggressive behavior and problematic alcohol use) paths to violence. For women, problematic alcohol use mediates the relationship between childhood victimization and violence, and, independent of child maltreatment, early aggression leads to alcohol problems, which lead to violence. Interventions for victims of childhood maltreatment need to recognize the role of early aggressive behavior and alcohol problems as risk factors for subsequent violence.

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