Emotional abuse and later dating interpersonal violence
Madden, Amber Renee
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Interpersonal violence perpetration and victimization have been linked to past experiences of childhood maltreatment; however, little research has explored how biological stress reactivity functions within these relationships. The present study investigated the moderating effects of stress reactivity on associations between reports of childhood emotional abuse and later interpersonal violence in young adult romantic relationships. The current sample consisted of 57 young adult romantic partners. Salivary cortisol samples were collected before and after a stress task to measure stress reactivity. In line with previous literature, childhood emotional abuse was related to later dating victimization, but was not significantly related to young adult dating aggression. The relations between childhood emotional abuse and dating victimization and aggression varied depending on cortisol reactivity, such that for those who experienced low levels of cortisol reactivity, the relation between childhood emotional abuse and dating violence increased.