Did you know that early exposure to violence is related to later relationship violence and satisfaction?
A recent study conducted by Natacha Godbout and Marie-Ève Daspe, members of the SCOUP team, examined the associations between early exposure to violence, perpetration of relationship violence, and relationship satisfaction. These associations were examined during the critical time of adolescence/emerging adulthood were individuals form their first understanding of romantic relationships.
This study began at Time 1 with 1,252 adolescents who completed surveys concerning exposure to family violence, attachment, perpetrated relationship violence and relationship satisfaction. At Time 2, three years later, 234 participants completed a follow up survey.
What were the results?
We found that early exposure to family violence predicts later relationship violence both directly and indirectly. Indeed, participants who had been exposed to violence reported increased fear of abandonment, which in turn, was associated with relationship violence. Our results also highlighted that becoming more avoidant of intimacy was associated with experiencing more relationship distress.
Our findings suggest that the experience of early violence is an important factor to consider when dealing with relationship violence. Findings also support the importance of addressing attachment insecurities like fear of abandonment and avoidance of intimacy, in order to help young adults live more satisfying, violence free romantic relationships.
If you would like to know more about this study, we invite you to read the full paper:
Godbout, N., Daspe, M.-È., Lussier, Y., Sabourin, S., Dutton, D., & Hébert, M. (2017). Early exposure to violence, relationship violence, and relationship satisfaction in adolescents and emerging adults: The role of romantic attachment. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(2), 127-137. Epub 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000136