Domestic Violence

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What are the causes or risk factors for intimate partner violence?

Although there is no specific cause for domestic violence, women at the highest risk for being the victim of domestic violence include those with male partners who abuse drugs (especially alcohol), are unemployed or underemployed, afflicted by poverty, have not graduated from high school, and are or have been in a romantic relationship with the victim. Unmarried individuals in heterosexual relationships tend to be more at risk for becoming victims of intimate partner abuse. A mind-set that gives men power over women puts individuals at risk for becoming involved in an abusive relationship, either as a perpetrator or as a victim. Domestic violence against women tends to be reported more often by victims who are in a relationship with a man with more conservative religious views than their own, regardless of whether or not the couple is of the same or different religions or denominations. Regular attendance at religious services is apparently associated with less reported intimate partner abuse. Research shows that those who grew up in a household in which domestic violence took place or in which a parent suffered from alcoholism are more likely to become either perpetrators or victims of intimate partner violence as adults. Teenagers who suffer from mental illness are also at risk for being an abusive relationship as young adults. African-American and Hispanic teens have been found to be at higher risk for being victims of teen domestic violence, with some studies indicating independence of socioeconomic status. Another risk factor for teen dating/domestic violence includes lower grades.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/5/2016

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