Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan


Intimate Partner Violence has adverse effects that may persist in the development stages of an individual, from childhood to old age. Adults victims of IPV lives a double life of violence and normative values, and manifest prevalence of cognitive dysfunctional, illness, and need for care. Others master internal and external factors that cause resilience overexposure to IPV. At old age, effects of IPV are often overlooked by researchers since individuals have coped to living with those effects, due to attainment of developmental stability

Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan

Article Summary

Intimate Partner Violence causes adverse effects on individuals, some of which persist throughout their development stages. Studies have found that IPV damage the psychological, emotional, behavior, and social development of children (Westrupp et al. 2017; Yalch et al. 2016). Besides, adolescents who have endured inter-parental violence and tend to be violent as they find identity meaning through childhood experiences (Shu et al. 2016; Bergman, Cummings, and Davies 2014). In this paper, I will look at the implications of IPV in adults and older adults who have experienced IPV in their lifetime. Studies reveal that the effects of IPV persist across an individual’s lifespan, but at old age, individuals cope with living with those effects due to the attainment of developmental stability.


In papers, one and two, the effects and experiences of IPV on minors have been described. Further, Band-Winterstein (2014) expounds on the lived experiences of adults who were exposed to IPV in their childhood. Band-Winterstein uses the trauma theory, life course approach, and the aging family and intergenerational relationship theories. She conducted the study herself, on a community sample size of 25 adults, 12 males and 13 females of ages 30 to 55 years. Band-Winterstein (2014) used in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews for about two hours to collect data concerning the participant’s experiences, their relationships, perspectives, desires, and hopes. The interview was recorded, then transcribed to analyze data using cross-case analysis. She found that participants lived a double life of violence and normative values, and manifest prevalence of cognitive dysfunctional, illness, and need for care. She concludes that the adults exposed to IPV experience consequences throughout their life, coping or overcoming their childhood reflections. That is in correlation with Arnett (2016) that effects of IPV are likely to last through adulthood despite growing through the actualization stage. The work has used a sample selected by therapeutic professionals as a strength, but the sample is small to make meaningful conclusions.

Band-Winterstein (2014) findings are supported by Suzuki, Geffner, & Bucky, (2008) in that young adult’s surfer from the consequences of IPV, but affirms that it is possible to overcome them. Suzuki, Geffner, & Bucky (2008) acknowledge that some adults exposed to IPV are adaptive, and this study explores internal and external factors that cause the resilience of adaptation. They postulate the people can adapt or become resilient through self-protection on the general theory of ecological model. The study was conducted by authors. They advertised for participation in San Diego and California, and out of 121 applicants, only two men and eight women ages 23 to 35 years met the study criteria. Participants were taken through in-depth semi-structured interviews and data collected through the CTS2-CA Straus, Hamby, & Warren, 2003, The Detailed Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress (DAPS), Personality Assessment Screener (PAS), and the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST). The authors identified a list of internal and external factors that cause resilience overexposure to IPV. Internal factors regard individual efforts and interests such as planning and pursuit of goals, academic success, regulation of emotions, locus of control, positive self-perception, and learning from the past. External factors include spiritual beliefs, role models, social support systems, and extracurricular activities. They concluded that the effects of IPV are possible to avoid. Suzuki, Geffner, & Bucky, (2008) study agrees partly with Arnett (2016) that it is possible to avoid. For instance, Arnett (2016) suggests that through development stages into adulthood, one attains self-actualization, and overcomes the ramifications of IPV through internalizing and externalizing. The study has a robust quantitative data analysis and reliance on peer-reviewed sources but used a very small sample to make significant conclusions.

In addition to the studies on young adults, Popescu, Drumm, Dewan, & Rusu (2010) and Demir (2017) investigate the implications of IPV on older adults. Popescu, Drumm, Dewan, & Rusu (2010) conduct a qualitative study to identify the experiences, risk factors, coping mechanisms, and health consequences of IPV on older women. The study is guided by sociocultural and religious perspectives. It is not clear whether the authors conducted the study. The sample consists of eight of the 33 older women living in a nursing home, exposed to IPV, and have sufficient cognitive capacity. Researcher(s) used a semi-structured systematic interview with an open-ended question from one mediator and recorded it uninterruptedly using a recorder and a notepad. They found that all women were widowed, having married at ages 15 to 17. The risk factors identified include marriage at a young age and previous exposure to violence. They suffered IPV consequences, but have coped and adapted by taking refuge in God. Popescu, Drumm, Dewan, & Rusu (2010) study relates to Arnett (2016) regarding the health impacts of IPV.  Popescu, Drumm, Dewan, & Rusu (2010) conclude that the effects of IPV on older women are overlooked. The study is weak since it does not regard the experiences of older men, and has a small sample. However, authors have relied on secondary and primary sources to back their discussion.

Demir’s (2017) study is designed to investigate and to describe the prevalence, types, and occurrence of IPV among older women. He uses cognitive and behavioral theories to identify the physical, sexual and psychological factors in IPV. The study was conducted by the author themselves on a community sample of 370 randomly selected English-speaking women aged 65-74 years. They were selected using criteria and logistic regression. Data was collected through cross-sectional telephone interviews, and data were analyzed using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and Women’s Experience with Battering (WEB) Scale. The study found 26.5% prevalence of battering with 18.4% and 21.9% physical and non-physical abuse on older women in their adult lifetime. The study concluded that older women at risk of IPV as younger adults. Like Drumm, Dewan, & Rusu (2010), Demir’s (2017) relates to Arnett (2016) regarding the health impacts of IPV and its prevalence throughout developmental stages. This study is strong in that it has used adequate support from peer-reviewed articles, and have detailed statistical data and results. Besides, the author has used a large community sample, which increases the range of observations. However, Demir’s (2017) investigated only older women and overlooked the implications for older men.


From the six articles used in papers one, two, and on this, IPV is inarguable a pervasive crisis impacting individuals across all ages. From childhood to old age, the implications of IPV and responses vary significantly. In a way, IPV from childhood to old age reveals a developmental trend, which may help to underpin IPV effects at any stage. In childhood, IPV causes adverse mental health issues and dissociative behaviours. Children exposed to IPV may adapt or cope, but the impacts reveal in adolescents as violent or other negative behaviors, regardless of their emotional security. In childhood, individuals underdo immense development. They learn social definitions, and their cognitive capabilities are enhanced through differential association. As they approach adolescence, people begin to develop competence for childhood lessons, to form an identity. From that, individuals are likely to offend others during later development stages through the violence they overserved in early childhood.

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Further, through the development cycles, adults become stronger in physical and non-physical capabilities. They can approach issues rationally due to and have attained self-actualization. However, IPV victims are likely to experience cognitive dysfunctional, illness, and the need for care. For instance, Band-Winterstein (2014) reports that adults suppress the non-physical implications of IPV by internal and external factors. Notably, some adults suffer the consequences of IPV exposure in their childhood and their intimate relationships. The adult response to IPV situations is mainly due to their values learned throughout development, whether positive (such as resilience) or negative (such as offending). Studies on IPV among older women reveal that IPV has a prevalence rate of 26.5%, with 18.4% and 21.9% physical and non-physical abuse on older women in their adult lifetime (Demir, 2017). Despite the IPV consequences, some study reports that older women have coped and adapted by taking refuge in God (Drumm, Dewan, & Rusu, 2010). That is, they have attained their developmental stability regarding resilience or adaptation to IPV.


Arnett, J.J. (2016). Human Development: A Cultural Approach (2nd Ed.): Pearson.

Westrupp, E., Brown, S., Woolhouse, H., Gartland, D., & Nicholson, J. (2017). Repeated Early-Life Exposure to Inter-Parental Conflict Increases Risk of Preadolescent Mental Health Problems. European Journal of Pediatrics, 177(3), 419-427.

Yalch, M., Black, J., Martin, L., & Levendosky, A. (2016). Effects of Prenatal and Post-Birth Intimate Partner Violence on Preschool-Age Children’s Dissociative Symptoms. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(7), 741-752. Doi: 10.1080/10926771.2016.1194937