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Evidence for biological roots in the transgenerational transmission of intimate partner violence

Poirier, G L
Marquez, C
Veenit, V
Fontana, X
Salehi, B
Sandi, C
Published in Translational psychiatry. 2012, vol. 2, e106
Abstract Intimate partner violence is a ubiquitous and devastating phenomenon for which effective interventions and a clear etiological understanding are still lacking. A major risk factor for violence perpetration is childhood exposure to violence, prompting the proposal that social learning is a major contributor to the transgenerational transmission of violence. Using an animal model devoid of human cultural factors, we showed that male rats became highly aggressive against their female partners as adults after exposure to non-social stressful experiences in their youth. Their offspring also showed increased aggression toward females in the absence of postnatal father-offspring interaction or any other exposure to violence. Both the females that cohabited with the stressed males and those that cohabited with their male offspring showed behavioral (including anxiety- and depression-like behaviors), physiological (decreased body weight and basal corticosterone levels) and neurobiological symptoms (increased activity in dorsal raphe serotonergic neurons in response to an unfamiliar male) resembling the alterations described in abused and depressed women. With the caution required when translating animal work to humans, our findings extend current psychosocial explanations of the transgenerational transmission of intimate partner violence by strongly suggesting an important role for biological factors.
Keywords AdultAge FactorsAggression/physiology/psychologyAgonistic Behavior/physiologyAnimalsAnxiety/physiopathology/psychologyBody Weight/physiologyChildChild Abuse/psychologyCorticosterone/bloodDepression/physiopathology/psychologyDisease Models, AnimalEpigenesis, Genetic/physiologyFear/physiologyFemaleGender IdentityGene-Environment InteractionHumansIntergenerational RelationsLife Change EventsMaleNeurons/physiologyRaphe Nuclei/physiopathologyRatsRats, WistarRisk FactorsSerotonin/physiologySpouse Abuse/psychologyStress, Psychological/complications/psychologyViolence/psychology
PMID: 22832906
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Research group Groupe Ansermet François (psychiatrie) (861)
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CORDERO CAMPANA, Maria Isabel et al. Evidence for biological roots in the transgenerational transmission of intimate partner violence. In: Translational psychiatry, 2012, vol. 2, p. e106. doi: 10.1038/tp.2012.32 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:43586

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Deposited on : 2014-12-17

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