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Parenting, Domestic violence, Father-child relationships, Mentalization

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This study is the first to examine reflective functioning (RF) and direct parent-child interactions of fathers with concurrent intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration and substance abuse (SA) problems. Twenty-four fathers, with children between the age of one and seven, completed a structured interview to assess RF, self-report measures of hostile-aggressive parenting behaviors, IPV perpetration severity, SA severity, and a coded play session with their children. Results of three simultaneous multiple regressions revealed that RF in fathers was not associated significantly with observed parenting behaviors. However, fathers' SA severity emerged as a significant predictor for child avoidant behavior and dyadic tension, and fathers' IPV perpetration severity contributed unique variance to child avoidant behavior and dyadic constriction. These results suggest that fathers' SA severity and IPV perpetration behaviors may be more salient factors in predicting their father-child interactions than paternal RF.

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Journal of Family Violence, v. 31, issue 4, p. 433-442

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Family Violence. The final authenticated version is available online at:

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