Childhood Abuse and Current Intimate Partner Violence: A Population Study in Hong Kong

Elsie Yan, Thanos Karatzias

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have established that childhood violence victimization is associated with current experience of intimate partner violence (IPV). Existing literature, however, focused exclusively on female survivors and physical IPV and relied on non-representative samples. The present study examined the associations between life adversities and IPV using a representative sample of 1,239 men and women aged between 18 and 97. Participants provided information on their demographic characteristics, lifetime history of adverse life events, and past year IPV. Results show that IPV is common with 32.8% of the participants having reported past year psychological aggression, 4.5% reported physical abuse, and 1.1% reported injury. Various life adversities were also common with 21.7% having reported family disruption, 6% having experienced abuse or witnessing violence, and 2.1% life-threatening events. Logistic regression analyses revealed that experiencing abuse or witnessing violence in childhood is associated with a greater risk of past year psychological aggression, physical assault, and injury. Results were significant even after controlling for demographics and other life adversities. Family disruption in childhood was associated with increased risk of past year injury, but the association diminished after controlling for the rest of the variables. Experience of life-threatening events was not associated with any form of past year IPV. Altogether, our results point out that childhood victimization, especially physical abuse by parents, is associated with future long-term risk of IPV. This highlights the importance of early prevention and intervention for child abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-251
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • childhood life adversities
  • cultural contexts
  • intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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