Risk factors for intimate partner violence and abuse among adolescents and young adults: findings from a UK population-based cohort

Annie Herbert*, Jon E Heron, Christine A Barter, Eszter Szilassy, Maria C Barnes, Laura D Howe, Gene S Feder, Abigail Fraser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

12 Citations (Scopus)
108 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Approximately one-third of young people in the UK have
suffered intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA) on reaching
adulthood. We need interventions to prevent IPVA in this population,
but there is a lack of evidence on who is at greatest risk.
Methods: We analysed questionnaire data from 3,279 participants of
the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children populationbased birth cohort. We estimated the prevalence of IPVA victimisation
and perpetration by age 21, by sex, demographic, parenting, mental
health, externalising behaviour (e.g. smoking), educational,
employment, and adverse childhood factors.
Results: Overall, 29% of males and 41% of females reported IPVA
victimisation, with 20% and 25% reporting perpetration, respectively
(16% and 22% both). The most common type of IPVA was emotional,
followed by physical, then sexual. History of anxiety, self-harm, antisocial behaviour, cannabis or illicit (non-cannabis) drug use, or risky
sexual behaviour among males and females were associated with a
50% increase in likelihood of IPVA (victimisation or perpetration).
Males reporting depression, sexual abuse (not by an intimate partner),
witnessing domestic violence, or parental separation were also more
likely to experience IPVA. Extreme parental monitoring, high academic
achievement during adolescence, and NEET (not being in education,
employment, or training) status in young adulthood were associated
with reduced risks of IPVA.
Conclusions: A range of demographic, mental health, and
behavioural factors were associated with increased prevalence of IPVA
victimisation or perpetration. Further study of likely complex
Original languageEnglish
Article number176
Number of pages31
JournalWellcome Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Herbert A et al.


  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Dating Violence
  • Adolescent
  • Young Adult
  • Cohort Studies


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