Intimate Partner Violence and Preschoolers' Explicit Memory Functioning

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Abstract

This research examines whether parents' intimate partner physical violence (IPV) relates to their preschoolers' explicit memory functioning, whether children's symptoms of hyperarousal mediate this relation, and whether mothers' positive parenting moderates this relation. Participants were 69 mothers and their 4- or 5-year-old child (34 girls). Mothers completed measures of IPV, children's hyperarousal symptoms, parent-child aggression, and positive parenting. Measures of explicit memory functioning were administered to preschoolers. As expected, IPV correlated negatively with preschoolers' performance on explicit memory tasks, even after controlling for parent-child aggression and demographic variables related to preschoolers' memory functioning. Preschoolers' hyperarousal symptoms did not mediate the relation between IPV and explicit memory functioning, but mothers' positive parenting moderated this relation. Specifically, the negative relation between IPV and preschoolers' performance on 2 of the 3 explicit memory tasks was weaker when mothers engaged in higher levels of positive parenting. These findings extend research on IPV and children's adjustment difficulties to explicit memory functioning in preschoolers and suggest that mothers can ameliorate the influence of IPV on preschoolers' memory functioning via their parenting.

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