From family to friends: Does witnessing interparental violence affect young adults' relationships with friends?

Mahua Mandal, Michelle J. Hindin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Childhood exposure to violence in one's family of origin has been closely linked to subsequent perpetration and victimization of intimate partner violence. There is, however, little research on the relationship between witnessing violence and subsequent peer violence. This study investigates the effects of witnessing interparental violence among Filipino young adults on their use and experience of psychological aggression with friends. Methods: The data source for this study was the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. Recent perpetration and victimization of friend psychological aggression among young adults ages 21-22 years was assessed through self-reports from the 2005 survey; witnessing interparental violence during childhood was assessed through self-reports from the 2002 survey. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the effects of witnessing interparental violence on subsequent use and experience of friend psychological aggression. Analyses were stratified by gender. Results: About 13% of females and 4% of males perpetrated psychological aggression toward close friends, and about 4% of females and males were victims. Fourteen percent of females and 3% of males experienced bidirectional psychological aggression. About 44% of females and 47% of males had, during childhood, witnessed their parents physically hurt one another. Witnessing maternal and reciprocal interparental violence during childhood significantly predicted bidirectional friend psychological aggression among males. Among females, witnessing interparental violence did not significantly predict involvement with friend psychological aggression. Conclusions: Violence prevention programs should consider using family-centered interventions, and apply a gendered lens to their application. Further research on gender differences in friend aggression is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Friends
  • Interparental violence
  • Peer violence
  • Philippines
  • Psychological aggression
  • Witnessing violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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