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Violence Vict. 2013;28(2):210-32.

Adult attachment as a criminological construct in the cycle of violence.

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Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, VA 23502, USA.


This study investigates whether the criminological construct of attachment plays a role in the link between family violence victimization experiences in childhood and adult violent behavior. Data collected from undergraduate students was used to estimate the independent effect of adult attachment type on the victimization-violence link and it was used to examine main effects and interactions between family violence-adult attachment types on adult violent behavior. Consistent with past research, results revealed significant associations between direct experiences of victimization and violent behavior. Multivariate analyses using interaction terms also found significant interactions, indicating moderation effects, which were further investigated. Results revealed that social learning theory may be useful in explaining violence among those who have experienced high victimization, whereas social control theory may be useful in explaining adult violence for those who have experienced low or no levels of violence early in life. Given this study's findings, further research to examine the means by which family violence victimization experiences develop into violent behavioral patterns is recommended.

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