Genetic and Environmental Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and the Externalizing and Internalizing Dimensions

Amber Marie Jarnecke, Purdue University


Disorders from both the externalizing and internalizing spectra act as risk factors for and consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV); however, it is unclear how these constructs are related at an etiological level. In the current study, behavior genetics methods were used with a nationally representative sample of adults to examine the degree to which IPV shares common genetic and environmental influences with externalizing and internalizing dimensions. Results suggest that IPV does not fit well under heritable factors of internalizing or externalizing vulnerabilities. There is, however, significant nonshared environmental variance common to the externalizing dimension and IPV, even when accounting for internalizing traits. This suggests that focusing efforts on further identifying specific aspects of the nonshared environment (versus genetic or presumably shared environmental targets) may better help us understand that mechanisms that link externalizing traits and disorders to IPV.




South, Purdue University.

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