Interrupting the intergenerational cycle of violence: Protocol for a three-generational longitudinal mixed-methods study in South Africa (INTERRUPT_VIOLENCE)

Franziska Meinck*, Nataly Woollett, Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen, Mpho Silima, Christina Thurston, Ansie Fouché, Kopano Monaisa, Nicola Christofides

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Violence is a global social and human rights issue with serious public health implications across the life-course. Interpersonal violence is transmitted across generations and there is an urgent need to understand the mechanisms of this transmission to identify and inform interventions and policies for prevention and response. We lack an evidence-base for understanding the underlying mechanisms of the intra- and intergenerational transmission of violence as well as potential for intervention, particularly in regions with high rates of interpersonal violence such as sub-Saharan Africa. The study has three aims: 1) to identify mechanisms of violence transmission across generations and by gender through quantitative and qualitative methods; 2) to examine the effect of multiple violence experience on health outcomes, victimisation and perpetration; 3) to investigate the effect of structural risk factors on violence transmission; and 4) to examine protective interventions and policies to reduce violence and improve health outcomes.

Methods: INTERRUPT_VIOLENCE is a mixed-methods three-generational longitudinal study. It builds on a two-wave existing cohort study of 1665 adolescents in South Africa interviewed in 2010/11 and 2011/12. For wave three and possible future waves, the original participants (now young adults), their oldest child (aged 6+), and their former primary caregiver will be recruited. Quantitative surveys will be carried out followed by qualitative in-depth interviews with a subset of 30 survey families. Adults will provide informed consent, while children will be invited to assent following adult consent for child participation. Stringent distress and referral protocols will be in place for the study. Triangulation will be used to deepen interpretation of findings. Qualitative data will be analysed thematically, quantitative data using advanced longitudinal modelling. Ethical approval was granted by the University of Edinburgh, University of the Witwatersrand, North-West University, and the Provincial Department of Health Mpumalanga. Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals, policy briefs, and at scientific meetings.

Discussion: The proposed study represents a major scientific advance in understanding the transmission and prevention of violence and associated health outcomes and will impact a critically important societal and public health challenge of our time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number395
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • child abuse
  • child maltreatment
  • intergenerational transmission
  • violence
  • longitudinal
  • cohort


Dive into the research topics of 'Interrupting the intergenerational cycle of violence: Protocol for a three-generational longitudinal mixed-methods study in South Africa (INTERRUPT_VIOLENCE)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this