Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 63–73 | Cite as

Intimate Partner Violence and Psychological Distress among Young Couples: Analysis of the Moderating Effect of Social Support

  • Isabel Fortin
  • Stéphane Guay
  • Vicky Lavoie
  • Jean-Marie Boisvert
  • Madeleine Beaudry
Original Article


Young adults are more likely to experience intimate partner violence (IPV) than older adults. Little is known about the effect of confiding to others about sustained violence on the mental health of victims. The objective of this study was to explore the links between IPV, help-seeking behaviors and psychological distress by gender in a sample of 233 young couples.Our results indicate the frequency of sustained psychological violence, but not physical violence, was positively associated to distress. For women, seeking help from a greater number of confidents moderated the association between violence and psychological distress. For men, results showed that frequencies of physical and psychological violence were both positively linked to distress. However, unlike women, social support had no buffering effect on men’s distress. These findings increase our understanding of the effects of social support on young adults’ distress following episodes of IPV.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) Common couple violence Social support Young adults Gender difference 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Fortin
    • 1
  • Stéphane Guay
    • 1
    • 3
  • Vicky Lavoie
    • 2
  • Jean-Marie Boisvert
    • 2
  • Madeleine Beaudry
    • 4
  1. 1.School of CriminologyUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.School of PsychologyLaval UniversityQuébecCanada
  3. 3.École de CriminologieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  4. 4.School of Social WorkLaval UniversityQuébecCanada

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