Child Abuse and Neglect and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Perpetration: A Prospective Investigation

Child Abuse and Neglect and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Perpetration: A Prospective Investigation

A research critique refers to a systematic way of reviewing a research article objectively in a bid to determine its strengths and weaknesses and the applicability to practice. The ability of professionals to evaluate and use published research is grounded on the need to identify and utilize the best current practice (Vance et al, 2013). A research critique is an essential component of determining whether the appropriate steps in the research process were followed. Researchers should always be ready to critique a research to determine its appropriateness for use in the clinical setting. This essay presents a critique of a prospective investigation research paper published by SpatzWidom et al on child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration.


The title of the study is appropriate with the right length and bears the crucial information on what the research entails (Vance et al, 2013). The title is not too short neither is it too informative as it highlights that it is a prospective investigation regarding child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration. The variables are stated in the title, but the relationship between them is not shown.


The authors have included an abstract which is a summary of the main points discussed in the whole paper. The abstract has an appropriate length as it should have around 150-200 words in length. It is comprehensive and addresses the main issues discussed in the study by capturing the basic ideas in the study using an appropriate word length (Vance et al, 2013). The abstract adequately presents the purpose of the study, methodology, results, findings, and conclusion.


The authors have laid the preparatory phase of the research well. The introduction has put the background to the paper clearly with the aim of enabling the reader to understand the research question well. The researchers started with an explanation of the burden posed by intimate partner violence and child abuse as issues of significant public health concern (Widom et al, 2014). The authors describe the underlying problems in intimate partner violence and child abuse and state the financial burden associated with the same in the United States.

Problem Statement

The problem statement is adequately highlighted in the study. The authors present the significant magnitude of the need to investigate the effects of experiencing abuse or neglect in childhood and particularly in intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization in adulthood. The research is geared towards determining the extent to which a person’s risk for intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization in adulthood was increased by child abuse and neglect (Widom et al, 2014). The statement of the problem us relevant to nursing as it promotes understanding on the relationship between child abuse and neglect to intimate partner violence which are significant vices in the society.

Hypothesis/ Research Questions

The researchers stated the research questions for the study after mentioning the research purpose. The purpose of the research was to examine whether a child who experienced child abuse and neglect reported higher levels of intimate partner violence in adulthood as compared to a control group. The research questions are appropriately highlighted in the research and appropriately numbered. The researchers sought to answer the question whether there are people with a documented history of child abuse and neglect at increased risk of IPV victimization and perpetration in adulthood compared to a control group (Widom et al, 2014). The authors also wanted to find out whether there are people with a history of childhood physical abuse were more likely to be violent towards their partners. Thirdly, the authors wanted to determine the gender differences in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and IPV in adulthood.

Literature Review

The researchers conducted a comprehensive literature review to determine what previous studies had to say about child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization. The identified studies are showing that exposure to child abuse was the best predictor for the perpetration of intimate partner violence in adulthood (Cronin et al, 2008). Some studies stated that it was the best predictor; others found a significant relationship while other studies questioned the possibility of intimate partner violence due to child abuse.

The literature search was conducted on diverse sources including prospective studies, retrospective research, meta-analysis and cross-sectional studies. The authors state that it was hard to conclude the studies since the results were contrasting. The researchers adequately identified the relevant studies published on the issue of IPV and child abuse and neglect relationship (Cronin et al, 2008). The gap identified from the literature review is visible as the authors acknowledge failure to get a consensus on the relationship between child abuse and neglect and the perpetration and victimization of intimate partner violence.

Study Participants, Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

The researchers highlighted the study participants and the inclusion and exclusion criteria adequately. The study involved children that were abused or neglected at childhood using a cohort strategy in which they would match them with the non-abused and the non-neglected children. The inclusion criteria included the children who were abused to the extent that the cases attracted the attention of the authorities. The authors include court-substantiated cases of abuse and neglect. The authors selected children aged eleven years and below who were involved in incidences of abuse and neglect (Widom et al, 2014). The study excluded the court cases in which a child was adopted at infancy, involuntary neglect, children on placement only and failure to pay child support.

Sampling Procedures

The researchers highlighted the sampling procedures adequately in the paper (Vance et al, 2013). Non-probability sampling methods were employed in the research based on the nature of the study. The study included an initial sample of 1575 persons out of which 1307 subjects were located and 1196 interviewed. The researchers gave reasons for those who were unable to be interviewed and discussed the differences in the follow-up sample and the original sample. The authors also presented the demographic characteristics of the participants for the research.

Study Setting

The researchers stated the study setting, but they did not provide more details. The study is based in the United States, and the cases were obtained from court recordings in a metropolitan town in the Midwest (Widom et al, 2014). However, more details about the study setting have not been discolored.

Informed Consent and Ethical Considerations

The researchers obtained approval for the study from Institutional Review Board (Widom et al, 2014). The authors report that they took informed consent from the participants despite the fact that they were blinded to the purpose of the study. The participants signed a consent highlighting that the participation was voluntary and they understood the conditions of participation. The consent form was read to the participants and explained for those with limited reading ability.

Research Design

The authors adequately explained the type of research that they were conducting. They conducted a prospective cohort study design. The design involves the recruitment of subjects and following them up to the future to determine the outcome of an intervention (Milaniak&Widom, 2015). In this study, abused and neglected children with another set of non-abused and on-neglected children were investigated and followed up to young adulthood to determine the extent to which they will demonstrate intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration.

Research Variables

The researchers discussed the research variables well and also provided the operational definition of terms. They put into consideration both physical and sexual abuse as forms of child abuse. The authors accurately discussed the scenarios that would be regarded as abuse and neglect which fits into the operational definition of terms. The authors also investigated intimate partner violence and examined both the victimization and perpetration aspects (Widom et al, 2014). The control variables in the study were also determined and included age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

Study Results, Appropriateness of the Methods and Study Limitations

The researchers have discussed in depth the data collection procedures and the methods used in the analysis. The mathematical calculations used in the study have been well explained, and the results are presented. The authors have shown the study results according to the research questions; hence they have been able to answer all of the research questions (Widom et al, 2014). Tables were used appropriately to summarize the data presented.

The prospective cohort method used by the researchers was appropriate as it helped the researchers to answer the research questions. Prospective studies help researchers to collect first-hand information which presents the best way of explaining the research question (Milaniak&Widom, 2015). The study design allows the researchers to monitor the participants over time and make conclusions. Results were well discussed and the relationship with the literature review expounded. The researchers also disclosed the limitations of the study which included the fact that the study entailed extreme cases of abuse and neglect while others were not considered.

Level of Evidence and Implications for Nursing Practice

Widom et al (2014)employed a prospective study through monitoring of children up to young adulthood. The results can be applied in nursing practice as they are first hand and would, therefore, mean high reliability. The research critique demonstrates that the researchers followed all the requirements of a study to the latter hence can be applied to nursing practice.

Application of Research Findings to the Clinical Area

The results of the study can be applied in nursing practice in addressing the challenge of child abuse and neglect and the perpetration and victimization of intimate partner violence. There are lots of costs associated with child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence. The study showed that the abused and neglected children are at an increased risk for psychological abuse as far as IPV is concerned even thirty years down the line. The study highlights the long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect and calls upon the healthcare professionals and the community at large to address the issue. Child abuse and neglect have various adverse effects in adulthood and should, therefore, be prevented at all costs to secure the future relationships of the children (Milaniak&Widom, 2015). The study results can be applied in nursing practice in the development and implementation of strategic plans geared towards addressing child abuse and neglect.












Cronin, P., Ryan, F., & Coughlan, M. (2008). Undertaking a literature review: a step-by-step approach. British journal of nursing17(1), 38-43.

Milaniak, I., &Widom, C. S. (2015). Does child abuse and neglect increase risk for perpetration of violence inside and outside the home?. Psychology of violence5(3), 246.

Vance, D. E., Talley, M., Azuero, A., Pearce, P. F., & Christian, B. J. (2013). Conducting an article critique for a quantitative research study: perspectives for doctoral students and other novice readers. Nursing: Research and Reviews3(3), 67-75.

Widom, C. S., Czaja, S., & Dutton, M. A. (2014). Child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration: A prospective investigation. Child abuse & neglect38(4), 650-663.