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Am J Public Health. 2009 Jan;99(1):175-83. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.126722. Epub 2008 Nov 13.

Intimate partner violence, maternal stress, nativity, and risk for maternal maltreatment of young children.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, 1440 Canal St, Suite 2301 TW19, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.



We examined the associations of intimate partner violence (IPV) and maternal risk factors with maternal child maltreatment risk within a diverse sample of mothers.


We derived the study sample (N=2508) from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study. We conducted regression analyses to examine associations between IPV, parenting stress, major depression, key covariates, and 4 proxy variables for maternal child maltreatment.


Mothers reported an average of 25 acts of psychological aggression and 17 acts of physical aggression against their 3-year-old children in the year before the study, 11% reported some act of neglect toward their children during the same period, and 55% had spanked their children during the previous month. About 40% of mothers had experienced IPV by their current partner. IPV and maternal parenting stress were both consistent risk factors for all 4 maltreatment proxy variables. Although foreign-born mothers reported fewer incidents of child maltreatment, the IPV relative risk for child maltreatment was greater for foreign-born than for US-born mothers.


Further integration of IPV and child maltreatment prevention and intervention efforts is warranted; such efforts must carefully balance the needs of adult and child victims.

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