Exposure to violence in the family of origin
Harding, Hilary Germaine
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Research investigating how exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) during childhood and adolescence relates to subsequent psychological adjustment has generally overlooked the understudied influence of maternal-perpetrated IPV on outcomes, even though research suggests that women perpetrate aggressive acts in relationships as frequently as do men (e.g., Archer, 2000). Study One examined how retrospective reports of maternal and paternal IPV exposure related to current symptoms of PTSD and perpetration of dating violence in a romantic relationship among a sample of 460 college students. Analyses were carried out using structural equation modeling. Contrary to predictions, results suggested that neither exposure to maternal nor paternal perpetrated IPV predicted participants’ dating violence or PTSD symptoms when included in a model that also included child physical abuse. Study Two examined the relation of mothers’ and children’s reports of maternal and paternal IPV exposure to children’s internalizing, externalizing, and depressive symptomatology in a sample of 53 mother-child dyads recruited from the community. Consistent with expectations, results of a series of hierarchical regression analyses underscored the importance of including children’s reports of IPV exposure when predicting children’s outcomes (especially internalizing problems and depressive symptoms), and maternal-perpetrated IPV exposure emerged as an important predictor of children’s depressive symptomatology. Finally, Study Three utilized a longitudinal archival dataset with a sample of 1,354 at-risk children followed from age 6 to age 12 to examine how initial levels of and change in IPV exposure over time predicted children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms using hierarchical linear modeling. Results revealed that change in paternal IPV exposure over time predicted change in boys’ (but not girls’) externalizing symptoms over time, consistent with the same-sex modeling hypothesis. Further, change in paternal IPV exposure over time positively predicted changes in both boys’ and girls’ internalizing symptoms. Results of the three studies are discussed as they relate to current understanding of the effects of exposure to IPV behaviors during childhood and adolescence, with particular emphasis on integrating these findings with other literature in the understudied area of outcomes related to exposure to maternal-perpetrated intimate partner violence.