Life as she Knows it: The Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Intimate Partner Violence Among Women Prisoners


childhood experiences, Life course theory, Feminist pathways, Intimate partner violence, Incarcerated women, Prison


Most incarcerated women suffer from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as abuse (e.g., physical, sexual, emotional), neglect, (e.g., physical, emotional), and chaotic home environments (e.g., witnessing domestic violence), and adult intimate partner violence (IPV). Yet the majority of research on the relationship between ACEs and IPV has been limited to non-incarcerated populations. Using data from a stratified random sample of all incarcerated women in Oklahoma (n = 355), we explore the relationships between individual, cumulative, and clusters of ACEs as they relate to multiple forms of IPV in adulthood utilizing a feminist life course theory approach. Our findings indicate that individual ACEs, high accumulation of ACEs (five or more), and clusters of ACEs are linked to simple assault, aggravated assault, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse in adult intimate relationships in the pre-prison lives of women prisoners suggesting strong support for the use of a feminist life course theory approach in understanding these relationships.

Original Publication Citation

Jones, Melissa S., Meredith G. F. Worthen, Susan F. Sharp, and David A. McLeod. (Accepted 8/13/18)“Life as She Knows it: The Effects of Adverse Childhood ExperiencesonIntimate Partner ViolenceAmong Women Prisoners.” Child Abuse & Neglect.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Child Abuse & Neglect




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor