Intimate Partner Violence: The Impact of the Relationship between Perpetrators and Children who Witness Violence

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intimate partner violence, domestic violence, children, exposure to trauma

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The issue of the father—child relationship has been greatly ignored in the domestic violence research literature. This study investigated whether intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrated by biological fathers resulted in higher levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms and behavior problems than violence perpetrated by nonbiological fathers and whether children who witnessed violence perpetrated by multiple father figures had increased levels of posttraumatic stress disorder and behavioral symptoms. Eighty mothers who experienced domestic incidents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the University of California at Los Angeles Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index (PTSD-RI) for their children aged 2 to 18. Children with multiple violent father figures had significantly more symptoms on the CBCL than children in the other two research groups while controlling for maternal symptoms and trauma history. There were no significant differences between the biological and nonbiological father groups or among the three groups on the PTSD-RI.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Interpersonal Violence, v. 24, issue 10, p. 1755-1764