Similarities and Differences between Interpartner Abuse and Criminal Offending: An Examination of Latent Structure and Predictors
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The relationship between interpartner abuse (IPA) and criminal offending has received little scholarly attention, despite its important theoretical and practical implications. Two key questions about this relationship require attention. First, to what extent do IPA, violent offending, and property offending represent empirically distinct behavioural domains? Second, to what extent do these offence types share common predictors? The current study addressed these issues, and several additional issues, in a birth cohort of 950 New Zealand adults. Cohort members were questioned at ages 21, 25, and 30 years about the extent which they had engaged in IPA and criminal offending during the previous year. Information was also obtained from birth to late adolescence on a number of potential predictors of IPA and criminal offending, including socio-economic disadvantage, family dysfunction, childhood abuse, conduct disordered behaviours, deviant peer affiliations, substance abuse, academic ability, the obtainment of a high-school qualification, identification with an ethnic or racial minority, and gender. Confirmatory Factor Analysis results indicated that IPA, violent offending, and property offending represent three empirically distinct, albeit related, behavioural domains. Consistent with this finding were those obtained using Structural Equation Modelling techniques, which indicated that these offence types share many common childhood, adolescent, and demographic predictors. In addition, many predictors, but not all, were found to exert similar effects across these offence types. Analyses also indicated that shared predictors accounted for considerable proportions of the relationships between IPA, violent offending, and property offending. Finally, the vast majority of predictors were found to exert similar effects for males and females on each offence type. The current findings are discussed in relation to previous research and theory, and with respect to their implications for prevention-focused interventions for IPA and criminal offending.