Background The previous researchers have postulated that an abused child may abuse his or her abuser parent when the parent is getting old, also known as the intergenerational transmission of violence. However, few studies use data to support this model, and it has yet to be examined in the U.S. Chinese community. This study aims to examine the association between childhood abuse and elder abuse reported by Chinese adult children in the United States. Methods Guided by a community-based participatory research approach, 548 Chinese adult children aged 21 years and older participated in this study. Childhood abuse was assessed by four-item Hurt-Insult-Threaten-Scream (HITS) scale. Elder abuse was assessed by a 10-item instrument derived from the Caregiver Abuse Screen (CASE). Logistic regression analysis was performed. Results Childhood abuse was associated with caregiver abuse screen results (odds ratio = 1.92, 95% confidence interval = 1.24-2.95). Being physically hurt (r = .13, p < .01), insulted (r = .15, p < .001), threatened (r = .12, p < .01), and screamed at (r = .18, p < .001) as a child were significantly correlated with caregiver abuse screen results. Conclusion This study suggests that childhood abuse is associated with increased risk of elder abuse among Chinese adult children in the United States. Longitudinal research should be conducted to explore the mechanisms through which childhood abuse and its subtypes links with elder abuse.