Patterns of intimate partner violence in a large, epidemiological sample of divorcing couples

Connie J.A. Beck, Edward R. Anderson, Karey L. O'Hara, G. Andrew H. Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In many jurisdictions divorcing couples are court-ordered to participate in divorce mediation to resolve parenting plan disputes prior to a court allowing a case to proceed to trial. Historically, a significant number (40 -80%) of these divorcing couples enter this highly stressful legal process having experienced violence and abuse within the relationship (Pearson, 1997). Several researchers have developed typologies that describe couple-level patterns of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) behaviors; one research team suggested their typology could apply specifically to such divorcing people (Kelly & Johnson, 2008). In this context, identification and accurate classification of IPV/A can lead to better decisions as long-term, difficult to modify custody orders concerning the children are made during divorce mediation. Accurate identification and classification of IPV/A can also assist clinical researchers designing specialized interventions for couples and individuals experiencing IPV/A, mental health practitioners who may treat these families, and custody evaluators who may make recommendations to the courts. The current study includes a large epidemiological sample of divorcing couples and provides a robust statistical solution with five distinct categories of IPV/A. Two of the five categories were similar to those proposed by Johnson (2006c). The current study also provides descriptions and frequencies of each type of IPV/A, and discusses implications for court personnel, researchers and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-753
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Divorce
  • Divorce mediation
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Latent class analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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