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Violent Peers, Network Centrality, and Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration by Young Men

Purpose: To measure the association between affiliation with violent peers in adolescence and intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by men in early adulthood, and how peer network structure influences the strength of this association.

Methods: Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we analyzed a cohort of male subjects, originally in grades 7–12, reporting on sexual relationships 7 years later. At baseline, peer network violence was estimated as the average of network members' reports of their frequency of fighting during the past year, and centrality (number of friendships) was measured. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations between peer network violence, network centrality, and perpetration of IPV in recent intimate relationships.

Results: The probability of IPV perpetration was 37% for young men with a large number of friends (>13) engaging in an average of six to seven fights in the past year. However, young men in small- (<6 friends) or medium-sized peer networks (6–13 friends) with these same levels of violence had probabilities of IPV perpetration between 5% and 7%.

Conclusions: School-based interventions that target fighting by male subjects can reduce risk of IPV perpetration later in life.

Ramirez, M., Paik, A., Sanchagrin, K. J., & Heimer, K. Violent Peers, Network Centrality, and Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration by Young Men. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.016.