Pregnant Adolescents as Perpetrators and Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

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The role of pregnant adolescents as perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) is not well understood. Socioecological factors associated with IPV (physical assault and injury, and psychological aggression) perpetrated by pregnant adolescents and the association between IPV and attitudes toward the use of physical punishment to discipline children were examined among 246 pregnant adolescents. Pregnant adolescents were more likely to report perpetrating both physical assault (24%) and psychological aggression (52.7%) than being the recipient (12.2% and 38.6%, respectively) and having been physically injured (7%) than inflicting injury (4.1%). Risk factors for perpetrating physical assault included prior assault by partner, being African American, exposure to community violence, being in trouble with the police, and multiple lifetime drug use. IPV perpetrators had more favorable attitudes toward the use of physical punishment. Interventions should address IPV and parenting attitudes in young couples to maximize the health and safety of both mother and unborn child.