This study investigated the long-term effects of exposure to intimate partner violence in the home on adolescent violence and drug use and gender differences in these relationships. Although the general relationship between exposure to IPV and negative outcomes for youth has been demonstrated in past research, gender differences in the effects of IPV on adolescents have been rarely assessed using longitudinal data. Methods: Longitudinal data was obtained from 1,315 adolescents and their primary caregivers participating in the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). The sample was 51% female and ethnically diverse (45% Hispanic, 37% African-American, and 14% Caucasian). Two waves of data were assessed to examine the effects of exposure to IPV, reported by caregivers when their children were aged 12 and 15, on violence and drug use, reported by adolescents 3 years later. Multivariate statistical models were employed to control for a range of child, parent, family, and neighborhood risk factors. Results: Exposure to IPV did not significantly predict subsequent violence among males or females in multivariate analyses. IPV exposure was significantly related to the frequency of drug use for females but did not predict drug use among males. This gender difference was not statistically significant, however, which suggests more similarities than differences in the relationship between exposure to IPV and subsequent violence and drug use. Conclusions: This study supports prior research indicating that exposure to IPV can negatively impact adolescent development, but it suggests that these effects may be more likely to influence some outcomes (e.g., drug use) than others (e.g., interpersonal violence). The findings also emphasize the need for additional research examining the overall impact of IPV on adolescent problem behaviors and gender differences in these relationships, including longitudinal studies and investigations that control for a range of other important predictors. A better understanding of these relationships can help inform intervention efforts aimed at ensuring that adolescents living in violent households receive timely and appropriate services to help prevent the occurrence of future problem behaviors.
- Drug use
- Intimate partner violence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health