Parenting of Fathers with Co-Occurring Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Abuse

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alcohol and drugs, domestic violence, alcohol and drugs, children exposed to domestic violence, domestic violence, batterers, domestic violence

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No studies to date have compared parenting behaviors of men with co-occurring intimate partner violence (IPV) and substance abuse (SA) with community controls. This study was designed to document mediators of differences in parenting behavior of fathers and the emotional-behavioral problems of their children for men with co-occurring SA and IPV. The self-reported parenting (negative, positive and coparenting behaviors) and the child emotional-behavioral problems of 43 fathers with children aged 2 to 6 years with a recent history of SA + IPV were compared to a sample of 43 community control fathers with the same socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Fathers completed measures on their parenting behavior with a target child, coparenting behavior with the child’s mother, emotion regulation, romantic attachment, psychiatric symptoms, and the behavior of the target child. Men with co-occurring SA + IPV had significantly less positive coparenting and more negative parenting behaviors than community control fathers. Negative parenting and coparenting were mediated by the fathers’ avoidant attachment problems. SA + IPV fathers also reported more emotional and behavioral problems in their children. These poor child outcome differences between groups were mediated by the negative parenting behaviors of the fathers. These results suggest areas of potential focus in interventions with fathers who have co-occurring SA + IPV issues. Focus on attachment difficulties with his coparent, which may include affect regulation, coping with emotions, and communication skills training related to coparenting, may yield significant changes in parenting behaviors and ultimately child functioning.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Interpersonal Violence, v. 28, issue 11, p. 2290-2314