Age, puberty, and exposure to intimate partner violence in adolescence

Holly Foster*, John Hagan, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This paper links sociological and epidemiologic research on violence and the life course to biosocial perspectives on pubertal maturation to examine risk factors associated with exposure to intimate partner violence in adolescence. While prior research lias established early puberty as a risk factor for delinquent behavior, studies to date have not yet investigated whether early puberty is also linked to intimate partner violence in adolescence. Prior epidemiologic research has found that increasing age in adolescence is a risk factor for dating violence, but this work has not yet incorporated the element of pubertal maturation. The present study examines the relative effects of chronological age and maturational age in a biosocial model predicting risk for intimate partner violence among adolescent females, net of established control variables, using three waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. These findings indicate that early maturation in females is an additional risk factor for exposure to intimate partner violence in adolescence. The importance of disentangling types of age effects as raised in the developmental literature and as supported by these findings is discussed in relation to the prevention of youth violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-166
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Adolescence
  • Age
  • Females
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Puberty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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