Childhood exposure to parental violence, attachment insecurities, and intimate partner violence perpetration among Arab adults in Israel

Shireen Sokar*, Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia, Charles W. Greenbaum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Extensive research supports the existence of a “cycle of violence” that links exposure to parental violence during childhood (i.e., witnessing interparental violence and child maltreatment) with intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration. However, there is still a need to explore the mechanisms through which early exposure to parental violence may foster IPV perpetration during adulthood. Objective: In this study, we examine the mediating role of attachment insecurities and gender differences in the relationship between exposure to parental violence during childhood and IPV perpetration during adulthood. Method, participants, and setting: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among a representative sample of 604 married Arab adults (M age = 33.5, SD = 6.52; 50.1 % women) in Israel using a self-administered questionnaire. Results: Exposure to physical violence, both as a victim and indirectly as a witness in childhood, was found positively correlated with adulthood IPV perpetration, with effect sizes ranging from weak (f 2 = 0.01) to moderate (f 2 = 0.15). Further, attachment-related avoidance was found to mediate the association between witnessing interparental physical violence and IPV perpetration. Gender differences were found in this relationship, with a stronger association indicated among male participants than among females. Conclusion: Exposure to physical violence may be understood as a risk factor for IPV perpetration directly and indirectly through the development of attachment-related avoidance.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105999
Pages (from-to)105999
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume136
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Arab society
  • Attachment
  • Child maltreatment
  • Gender differences
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Witnessing interparental violence

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