Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Predictors of Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Victimization in a College Aged Sample

Document Type


Publication Date

June 2016


Background: This study examines the role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as predictors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual victimization (SV) in a college aged sample in southern Appalachia. Methods: Data were obtained from a health behavior questionnaire administered online at a university in southern Appalachia from July-December 2014. The sample included 992 participants who self-reported on ACEs and adult experiences of IPV and SV. Descriptive statistics were completed for age, race, sex, ACEs (emotional, physical, or sexual abuse experiences as a child or witnessing IPV), IPV, and SV. Multiple logistic regression models were used to predict IPV and SV in separate models. Results: The sample was mostly female (69.3%), Caucasian (84.2%), and had an average age of 20 years old (M=20.1, SD= 4.05). IPV was reported by 10.5% of participants and SV by 14.1%. Predictors of IPV were: female (OR: 2.85, CI: 1.44- 5.65), emotional abuse (OR: 2.06, CI: 1.14- 3.70), sexual abuse (OR: 2.52, CI: 1.40-4.53) and age (OR: 1.10, CI: 1.06-1.15). Predictors of SV were female (OR: 3.22 CI: 1.70- 6.08), emotional abuse (OR: 2.53, CI: 1.48-4.33), sexual abuse (OR: 7.45, CI: 4.40-12.60) and age (OR: 1.06, CI: 1.02-1.12). Conclusions: Emotional and sexual abuse experiences during childhood were the greatest predictors of IPV and SV in adulthood in this college aged sample. This illustrates that children who were victims of emotional or sexual abuse have an increased risk of further abuse and/or re- victimization as adults. Females had a greater odds of experiencing IPV and SV compared to their male counterparts. Although this pilot study is limited in that looked at college students at one university, this provides a foundation for future research on predictors of IPV and SV in young adults. Further, a better understanding of ACEs and their role in adult health outcomes will allow more targeted interventions in high risk groups.


Miami, FL

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Abstract is also available through the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

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