Adult Violence With the Mother and Sibling as Predictors of Partner Violence

Helen M. Hendy, Mary K. Burns, S. Hakan Can, Cory R. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The present study provides the first available evaluation of how violence with the mother and siblings during adulthood is associated with the occurrence of partner violence in young adults. Because a pattern of reciprocal partner violence is well documented, the authors hypothesized that reciprocal violence would also be found for adults and their mothers and for adults and their siblings. The authors also hypothesized that reciprocal violence with the mother and sisters would explain variance in partner violence even when controlling for other known predictors (poverty, poor family support, stress, anger, low self-esteem). Study participants included 377 college adults (114 men, 263 women; mean age = 24.4 years) who completed questionnaires to report their present violence to and from their mothers, sisters, brothers, and romantic partners. Violence is measured with a modified Conflict Tactics Scale. No sibling gender differences are found in violence reported as adults. Factor analysis confirms good fit for three clusters of reciprocal violence for adults: violence with the mother, violence with siblings, violence with the romantic partner. Violence with the mother and siblings significantly explains variance in partner violence even after controlling for other contextual variables, but only for women. One interpretation of present results is that because women receive less socialization than men to use violence, these two within-family models of violence have more significance for increasing their risk of partner violence. Partner violence prevention programs could include participation of mothers and siblings to enhance development of more peaceful conflict resolution patterns within and outside the family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2276-2297
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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