Childhood Violence and Adult Partner Maltreatment: The Roles of Coping Style and Psychological Distress

Melanie D. Hetzel-Riggin, Christina L. Meads

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The study investigates the impact of psychological well-being, coping style, and maltreatment types on adult partner maltreatment patterns. A large sample of undergraduates completed assessments measuring history of childhood violence exposure, psychological distress, coping, and adult partner maltreatment. The multiply abused group (childhood physical abuse and witnessing family violence) experienced the highest levels of all forms of adult maltreatment, followed by the childhood physical abuse group. As childhood victimization became more severe, the relationship between childhood victimization and adult partner maltreatment became more direct. The current study highlights that individuals exposed to a greater degree of childhood victimization are more vulnerable to adult maltreatment because there are few mediators which may prevent or decrease risk for adult maltreatment. The results suggest that treatment and prevention efforts with victims of interpersonal violence should foster individualized coping skills and address specific psychopathology depending upon the individual's childhood abuse history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-593
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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