Considering context: Current relationship satisfaction in a second-generation model of men's physical intimate partner violence

Amy M.Smith Slep, Richard E. Heyman, Kelly A. Daly, Katherine J.W. Baucom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite a half-century of scholarship devoted to explicating and disrupting the intergenerational transmission of family violence, it remains a prominent and destructive social force in the United States. Theoretical models have posited a variety of historical and concurrent risk and protective factors implicated in the trajectory from childhood violence exposure to adult perpetration. Using a second-generation model of intimate partner violence (IPV), we integrated social learning and attachment conceptualizations to examine pathways from family-of-origin violence to IPV perpetration among adult men. A sample of mixed-sex couples (N = 233) completed self-report measures related to social learning and attachment-based factors (e.g., violence in past relationships, child exposure, IPV attitudes, adult attachment) and participated in a 10-min conversation about a desired area for change in their relationship. Following, each partner participated in a video-mediated-recall procedure assessing their anger volatility and eliciting attributions of their partners' behavior. We tested mediation pathways (consistent with social learning and attachment theories) between violence in men's families of origin and their adult IPV perpetration as a function of relationship satisfaction. The proposed model fit the data well (CFI = 0.95) but had notable modifications from the hypothesized model. Generally, social-learning pathways were more consistent with the data. Relationship satisfaction interacted with some parameters. Results support theoretical advances in understanding IPV. Although exposure to violence in men's family of origin confers risk for later IPV, and a social learning developmental pathway is consistent with results, some of these effects are altered by relationship context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamily Process
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • intergenerational transmission
  • intimate partner violence
  • second-generation theories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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