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J Public Health (Oxf). 2008 Mar;30(1):14-22. Epub 2007 Nov 6.

Childhood experiences of violence in perpetrators as a risk factor of intimate partner violence: a systematic review.

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Preventive Medicine and Public Health Area, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig 03080, Alicante, Spain.



Perpetrators' experiences of violence during childhood are considered a risk factor for intimate partner violence (IPV). The objective of this study is to systematically review the characteristics and quality of papers which analyse the association between being battered during childhood, witnessing marital violence as a child within the family of origin and having an absent or rejecting father and the occurrence of IPV.


Nine scientific databases were consulted (1960-2004). After applying the exclusion criteria, 10 studies were analysed. Variables are sample characteristics, directionality/study design, IPV and perpetrators' childhood measurements, findings, limitations and interventions.


All the studies found an association. Conflict Tactics Scale was the main tool used to measure the IPV. Different instruments were used to measure violent childhood experiences in men as an exposure. Recall bias (seven papers) and retrospective data (four papers) were reported as the main methodological limitations. Despite these, 50% of the studies proposed treatments/preventive measures.


Our findings support the results of previous studies, implying that action recommendations within IPV prevention are still not evidence based. Methodological problems of the papers reviewed should be solved to obtain more useful data. Scientific evidence about the aetiology of IPV should be increased to guide effective prevention programmes.

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