Adult intimate partner violence and youth delinquency: Relationships and implications for prevention

Open Access
Nappi, Joanna Marie
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mark T Greenberg, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Kathryn Bancroft Hynes, Honors Advisor
  • Brittany S Cooper, Faculty Reader
  • intimate partner violence
  • juvenile delinquency
  • youth delinquency
  • trajectories of delinquency
  • prevention
  • intervention
There is a lack of research on the developmental progression of perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV). Additionally, there is a lack of research examining the association between adulthood IPV and juvenile delinquency. For instance, why do some delinquent adolescents commit acts of IPV during adulthood while others do not? This literature review attempts to address these gaps by examining the intersection of two bodies of literature: adult IPV and juvenile delinquency. First, I review the theories and extant research that help inform our understanding of adult IPV perpetration and its development followed by a similar review of the theories and research on youth delinquency. An emphasis is placed on theories of causation, subtypes of perpetrators, models of developmental progression, and trajectories of delinquency. After reviewing IPV and juvenile delinquency separately, I suggest ways that the two bodies of literature can be integrated in order to highlight the connections and similarities across the theories and research on IPV and delinquency. Finally, implications for intervention/prevention and directions for future research will be discussed. This review concludes with several key points. First, research suggests that multiple risk factors for IPV are also risk factors for high levels of delinquency in adolescence. Second, the chronic and late-onset offender trajectories appear to be the type of offenders who are most likely to commit IPV, while the violent/antisocial perpetrators appear to be the subtype of perpetrators who are most likely to exhibit delinquency outside of the home. Third, intervention/prevention programs should be implemented as early as possible, tailored to a particular group of offenders or subtype of perpetrators, and target the multiple levels of influence that impact an individual. Future research should not only further distinguish types of offenders and subtypes of perpetrators from one another, but it should conduct studies that address both intimate partner violence and juvenile delinquency.