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Covariation in the Use of Physical and Sexual Intimate Partner Aggression Among Adolescent and College-Age Men: A Longitudinal Analysis

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2009 Pages: 24-43
Date Published
January 2009
20 pages

This longitudinal examination of male perpetration of physical aggression toward a romantic partner examined the time course of physical aggression from high school through 4 years of college; the time course of physically aggressive behaviors in dating relationships as a function of childhood experiences of sexual abuse, parental physical punishment, and witnessing domestic violence; and the co-occurrence of sexual and physical partner violence over time.


Physical and sexual dating violence was a common experience, with 49 percent of the men reporting at least 1 incident of physical or sexual aggression between adolescence and their 4th year of college; and 10.9 percent reported at least 1 incident of sexual aggression and one incident of physical aggression. There was an overall decline in the percentage of men committing partner violence over time; however, the frequency had two peaks, one in adolescence, and one in the second year of college. There was a main effect for history of childhood victimization on partner violence and an interaction with time that approached significance. Men with a history of childhood victimization showed a sharper increase in partner violence in the second year of college. Results showed that the witnessing of domestic violence and experiencing parental physical punishment, but not childhood sexual abuse, increased the likelihood of physical aggression toward one’s dating partners in adolescence. The study used a longitudinal design, replicated over three cohorts of men entering college. All men ages 18 to 19 entering college for the first time were asked to complete a series of five surveys over a 4-year period. Of the total of incoming men to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 65 percent completed the first survey (n=851). Of the original sample, 22 percent completed all five phases of the study. 2 tables and 62 references

Date Published: January 1, 2009