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AbstractIn the United States, 17-39% of couples report experiencing interpersonal violence annually (Caetano et al., 2008). Intimate partner violence (IPV) is broadly defined as the psychological, physical, or sexual victimization of a partner within an intimate relationship (Edwards & Slyaska, 2015). Recently, a growing rate of adolescents have reported experiencing IPV (Edwards & Slyaska, 2015). Thirty-seven percent of adolescents reported experiencing dating violence within the past year, and retrospectively, 69% of adults reported having experienced dating violence during adolescence (Taylor & Mumford, 2016). Similar problems have been reported in colleges; a third of students have reported experiencing either sexual or physical IPV (Scherer et al., 2014). Although adult females typically report experiencing IPV at a greater rate than adult males, one-in-three males report experiencing IPV victimization over the course of their life (Machado, 2020). The experience of IPV and its consequences are not a short-lived event. Among adults, perpetrators and victims of IPV report experiencing significant long-lasting psychological distress, such as depression, powerlessness, and PTSD (Caetano et al., 2008; Overstreet et al., 2015). IPV victimization in women has been associated with a greater likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted infections, HIV (Overstreet et al., 2015), and cardiovascular disease. This could be due to sexual exploitation experienced by victims of IPV, and engaging in other high-risk behaviors, like poor diet, exercise, and smoking (Campbell et al., 2008; Halpern et al., 2017). Research in young college adults found similar results. In a longitudinal study, compared to those who didn’t experience IPV, college students who experienced IPV, reported experiencing an increase in eating disorders, depressive symptoms, smoking, and having an overall decline in health (Bonomi, 2013). Lastly, 27-56% of IPV victims report revictimization, or getting into multiple abusive relationships (Iverson et al., 2013). Although it’s important to understand the consequences of IPV, it’s necessary to understand what factors may lead to IPV. The first goal of the ongoing study is to investigate what factors may be associated with the risk of becoming involved in a violent relationship. In a large systematic review on female victims of IPV (Pereira et al., 2020), factors such as family identity and expectations, reinforcement of gender roles, and social class and education levels were associated with remaining in violent relationships (Iverson et al., 2013). Further, witnessing or experiencing first-hand abuse during childhood has been linked to experiencing later IPV (Pereira et al., 2020). A possible explanation for this is intergenerational violence; household abuse may become accepted and normalized within the family unit. These dynamics may create feelings of self-blame, low self-esteem, and anxiety as well as contribute to the future minimization of violent behaviors and increase commitment to relationships characterized by violence (Pereira et al., 2020). We are also investigating these factors in how they specifically relate to male victims and their susceptibility to remaining in violent relationships, as they comprise an estimated 35% of IPV victims, but remain significantly underreported and insufficiently supported within communities due to stigma and speculation (Machado et al., 2017).
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