Differentiating Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence From Other Violent Offenders Using a Statistical Learning Model: The Role of Cognition and Life History Variables

Jaclyn M. Fox*, James L. Reilly, David S. Kosson, Allison Brown, Robert E. Hanlon, Michael Brook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread crime that victimizes over 4-million women per year in the United States and results in significant monetary cost and unmeasured physical and psychological consequences for victims. Specialized IPV offender treatment programs demonstrate limited effectiveness, which may be due to an insufficient understanding of the factors that differentiate between IPV perpetrators and non-IPV violent offenders. In this study, we utilized classification and regression tree (CART) analysis to identify combinations of factors that best discriminate IPV perpetrators from non-IPV violent offenders. We also compared cognitive abilities between IPV perpetrators and non-IPV violent offenders using standardized neurocognitive tests. CART analysis presented two pathways for identifying offenders as IPV perpetrators: (a) extensive nonviolent criminal history and (b) moderate-to-severe expression of interpersonal traits of psychopathy without attentional deficits. In addition, a third pathway identified non-IPV violent offenders: (c) low levels of interpersonal psychopathic traits and no history of neurodevelopmental diagnosis. IPV perpetrators demonstrated intact cognition relative to test norms, and study groups did not significantly differ on cognitive performance. These findings suggest that individuals with multiple arrests for nonviolent crime or individuals with interpersonal traits of psychopathy without attentional difficulties may be at enhanced risk for IPV perpetration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • intimate partner violence
  • neuropsychological testing
  • psychopathy
  • statistical learning model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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