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Sociology professor presents research on intimate partner violence at criminology conference

Rena Zito, assistant professor of sociology, presented research at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Nov. 17-20, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Rena Zito, assistant professor of sociology, presented research at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Nov. 17-20, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Rena Zito, assistant professor of sociology

Zito's previous research has documented the influence of teenage motherhood on mothers’ diminished risk orientation, yet few studies have examined the impact of early childbearing on actual risk exposure, including exposure to violent romantic relationships. Her talk, titled "Teenage Motherhood and Intimate Partner Victimization: A Counterfactual Analysis,"' presented at the "Victimization Exeriences from Childhood through Early Adulthood" session of the American Society of Criminology annual meeting sought to address this open question.

The study used nationally representative data and a statistical method called propensity score analysis, which mimics experimental design, to estimate the impact of teenage motherhood on victimization risk. She found that teenage mothers report substantially greater threats of violence from romantic partners, physical victimization and intimate partner injury than matched women who did not become teenage mothers. Importantly, increased risk exposure was limited to intimate environments, with teenage mothers’ risk of nonrelationship victimization and offending equivalent to or lower than that of matched peers. Moreover, it was teenage motherhood, in particular, rather than motherhood generally, that increased the risk of intimate violence.

Her results reveal the limited extent to which altered risk orientation translates into decreased risk exposure, suggesting that the structural and interpersonal challenges faced by teenage mothers render risk orientation irrelevant.

Rena Zito,
Faculty
12/7/2016 8:40 AM