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Pediatrics. 2006 Jan;117(1):99-109.

Female caregivers' experiences with intimate partner violence and behavior problems in children investigated as victims of maltreatment.

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  • 1Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, California, USA.



We examined the relationship between women's experiences with intimate partner violence and their reports of child behavior problems.


Data were from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a national probability study of children who were the subjects of child abuse and neglect investigations. The sample consisted of 2020 female caregivers of children between the ages of 4 and 14 years who were interviewed about demographic characteristics, child behavior problems, female caregiver mental health, parenting behaviors, experiences with intimate partner violence, and community characteristics. Information on child abuse and neglect was obtained in interviews with child protective services workers. Multiple-regression analyses were used to investigate the association between caregiver victimization and child behavior problems while controlling for the effects of child, family, and environmental characteristics. The potential moderating effects of caregiver depression and parenting practices on the relation between intimate partner violence and child behavior problems were examined also.


Severe intimate partner violence was associated with both externalizing and internalizing behavior problems when other risk factors were controlled. Use of corporal punishment and psychological aggression were significant moderators, but maternal depression did not moderate the relation between intimate partner violence and behavior problems.


This study adds to the evidence that maternal caregivers' experiences with intimate partner violence are related to child functioning. The findings suggest that systematic efforts are needed to ensure that mental health needs are identified and addressed appropriately in children exposed to this violence.

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