Adverse Childhood Experiences and Intimate Partner Violence: A Meta-Analysis

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Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) represents a significant public health concern that impacts individuals globally. Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) represents one risk factor for IPV involvement. However, the results of existing research on the association between ACEs and IPV have demonstrated somewhat mixed results. Given the heterogeneity of existing findings, the overall effect size of the association between ACEs and IPV was examined, to in turn inform policy, knowledge translation, prevention, and intervention efforts. Objectives: The present research sought to meta-analytically examine the association between ACEs and (1) IPV perpetration and (2) IPV victimization. Additionally, moderator analyses were conducted to determine demographic factors and study characteristics that may impact the association between ACEs and IPV involvement Method: Electronic searches were conducted in MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO in August of 2021. One-hundred and twenty-three records were screened for inclusion. All studies must have included a measure of ACEs (i.e., 8-item, 10-item, or other composite measure) and a measure of IPV victimization or perpetration (e.g., physical, sexual, or psychological abuse). Results: Among the 27 studies and 41 samples included in the present meta-analysis, 65,330 participants were included. Across all included studies, 33.84% of participants identified as male and the mean age was 32.10 years (age range, 14-56.9). The results of the meta-analyses demonstrated that ACEs were positively associated with IPV perpetration [k = 15, r = .172, (95% CI: .119, .223), p < .001], and victimization [k = 26, r = .200, (95% CI: .143, .255) p < .001]. Results of the moderator analysis demonstrated that the association between ACEs and IPV perpetration and victimization was stronger among studies that examined mixed IPV (i.e., more than one type of IPV) compared to physical IPV exclusively. The association between ACEs and IPV victimization was also stronger among studies that included younger participants and among more recently published studies. Conclusions: The present meta-analyses demonstrate a need for trauma-informed and early approaches to IPV screening, prevention, and intervention. Further, significant moderators identified in the present meta-analyses contribute to a stronger understanding of factors that amplify or attenuate risk for IPV among individuals with ACEs exposure. Future research should build upon these results to help inform resiliency factors that may mitigate risk for IPV.
Adverse childhood experiences, Intimate partner violence
Zhu, J. (2022). Adverse childhood experiences and intimate partner violence: a meta-analysis (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from