The Association Between Distinct Categories of Child Abuse Experiences and Dating Violence in Early Adolescence

Sidsel Karsberg*, Rikke Holm Bramsen, Mathias Lasgaard, Ask Elklit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Recent studies have shown significant associations between child maltreatment experiences and adolescent dating violence (ADV). However, few have investigated whether these associations differ by type of violence. The present study examined whether associations with four different ADV subgroups differed by the type of child maltreatment experienced. In total, 2934 7th grade students aged 12–15 (M = 13.5, SD =.5) filled out questionnaires at school. Logistic regression models which included eight potential confounding variables including gender, low SES, parenting styles as well as four forms of child abuse (i.e. emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, witnessing domestic violence), were performed to assess the impact of child maltreatment on the likelihood that the students would either be a victim or perpetrator of four distinct ADV subgroups (i.e. emotional only, physical, sexual only, multiple). Child sexual abuse was by far the strongest predictor of ADV, with odds ratios of 3.44 to 43.41. The remaining maltreatment types were associated with different types of ADV to varying degrees. The findings indicate a complex interaction between child maltreatment and ADV. To fully understand the complexity of the transmission of violence, further research on associations between subcategories of child maltreatment and ADV is suggested. More detailed knowledge on different child maltreatment experiences in relation to ADV would enable more specific targeting in future prevention programs aimed at reducing ADV.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)165-176
Publication statusPublished - 15. Apr 2019


  • Child abuse
  • Child maltreatment
  • Dating violence
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Transmission of violence


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