Prior research on patterns of intimate partner violence (IPV) has documented changes
over time, but few studies have focused directly on IPV desistance processes. This
analysis identifies unique features of IPV, providing a rationale for the focus on
this form of behavior cessation. We develop a life-course perspective on social learning
as a conceptual framework and draw on qualitative interviews (n = 89) elicited from
a sample of young adults who participated in a larger longitudinal study (Toledo Adolescent
Relationships Study). The respondents' backgrounds reflected a range of persistence
and desistance from IPV perpetration. Our analyses revealed that relationship-based
motivations and changes were central features of the narratives of successful desisters,
whether articulated as a stand-alone theme or in tandem with other potential "hooks"
for change. The analysis provides a counterpoint to individualistic views of desistance
processes, highlighting ways in which social experiences foster attitude shifts and
associated behavioral changes that respondents tied to this type of behavior change.
The analyses of persisters and those for whom change seemed to be a work in progress
provide points of contrast and highlight barriers that limit a respondent's desistance
potential. We describe implications for theories of desistance as well as for IPV
prevention and intervention efforts.