Long-Term Influence of Intimate Partner Violence and Parenting Practices on Offspring Trauma Symptoms

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Abstract

Objective: This study examined the prospective association of parental reports of intimate partner violence (IPV) involvement (perpetration and/or victimization) with offspring trauma symptoms an average of 6 years later and the moderating influence of positive and negative parenting. Method: The Children in the Community Study followed a representative sample of youth (Generation 2) and their parents (Generation 1) over 25 years, including their own offspring (Generation 3) in the final 2 of these 7 assessments. The sample includes male (n = 92) and female (n = 151) original Generation 2 study members who completed measures of IPV and had children (Generation 3) by Wave 5 (1999). Parents completed measures of parenting at Wave 6 (2001–2004), and child’s trauma symptoms at Wave 7 (2006–08). Results: IPV predicted child trauma symptoms, controlling for demographic risks. For fathers, but not mothers, this association held when controlling for stressful life events and psychopathology. IPV predicted lower positive and higher negative parenting practices. Positive parenting moderated the association of IPV with child trauma symptoms. Conclusion: Childhood exposure to IPV between parents may increase the distal risk for trauma symptoms. IPV predicts more negative and less supportive parenting practices. Positive parenting may be protective, though perhaps not at extreme levels of IPV.

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