Influence of Relationship Skills Education on Pathways of Associations Between Paternal Depressive Symptoms and IPV and Childhood Behaviors


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Abstract

The influence of relationship skills education on pathways of associations between paternal depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence and children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors via paternal warmth and avoidance of destructive conflict behavior was assessed. Participants were 3,045 low-income Hispanic American, European American, and African American fathers from the Building Strong Families Study. Families were drawn from 8 urban and rural areas across the United States and randomly assigned to a treatment and a control group. The treatment group received relationship skills education in group sessions. Assessments were conducted when children were 15 months and 36 months of age postintervention. Avoidance of destructive conflict behavior mediated the associations between intimate partner violence and children’s externalizing behavior for compliers. Links between intimate partner violence and children’s behavioral difficulties were direct for fathers in the noncomplier and control groups. Data are discussed in terms of the possible influence of relationship skills education on the associations between fathers’ personal functioning and children’s behavioral difficulties.

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