The Intergenerational Effects of Intimate Partner Violence in Pregnancy: Mediating Pathways and Implications for Prevention

Aja Louise Murray*, Daniela Kaiser, Sara Valdebenito, Claire Hughes, Adriana Baban, Asvini D. Fernando, Bernadette Madrid, Catherine L. Ward, Joseph Osafo, Michael Dunne, Siham Sikander, Susan Walker, Vo Van Thang, Mark Tomlinson, Manuel Eisner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Prenatal intimate partner violence (P-IPV) can have significant adverse impacts on both mother and fetus. Existing P-IPV interventions focus on the safety of the mother and on reducing revictimization; yet expanding these to address the adverse impact on the fetus has considerable potential for preventing long-term negative developmental outcomes. In this review, we draw together evidence on major pathways linking exposure to P-IPV and child outcomes, arguing that these pathways represent potential targets to improve P-IPV intervention efforts. Using a narrative review of 112 articles, we discuss candidate pathways linking P-IPV to child outcomes, as well as their implications for intervention. Articles were identified via key word searches of social science and medical databases and by inspection of reference lists of the most relevant articles, including recent reviews and meta-analyses. Articles were included if they addressed issues relevant to understanding the effects of P-IPV on child outcomes via six core pathways: maternal stress and mental illness, maternal–fetal attachment, maternal substance use, maternal nutritional intake, maternal antenatal health-care utilization, and infection. We also included articles relevant for linking these pathways to P-IPV interventions. We conclude that developing comprehensive P-IPV interventions that target immediate risk to the mother as well as long-term child outcomes via the candidate mediating pathways identified have significant potential to help reduce the global burden of P-IPV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-976
Number of pages13
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number5
Early online date04 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Support from the Optimus Foundation (Grant no. RG85882) and from a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (Grant No. SG163435) is gratefully acknowledged. MT is a lead investigator in the Centre of Excellence in Human Development, University Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • intimate partner violence
  • maternal mental health
  • pregnancy
  • prenatal development
  • stress
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'The Intergenerational Effects of Intimate Partner Violence in Pregnancy: Mediating Pathways and Implications for Prevention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this