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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009 Jul;63(7):563-8. doi: 10.1136/jech.2008.077750. Epub 2009 May 28.

Exposure to interparental violence and psychosocial maladjustment in the adult life course: advocacy for early prevention.

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UMR-S 707 INSERM-Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris6, Research Group on Social Determinants of Health and Health Care, 27, rue Chaligny, 75012 Paris, France.



Early family-level and social-level stressors are both assumed to be the components of two main path models explaining the association between exposure to interparental violence in childhood and its long-term consequences on mental health explored through life-course epidemiological studies.


To investigate the association between exposure to interparental violence in childhood and mental health outcomes in adulthood when taking into account early family and social stressors.


A retrospective French cohort study of 3023 adults representative of the general population in the Paris metropolitan area was conducted in 2005 through at-home, face-to-face interviews. The outcomes measures were current depression and lifetime suicide attempt, intimate partner violence, violence against children and alcohol dependence.


The adults exposed to interparental violence during childhood had a higher risk of psychosocial maladjustment. After adjusting for family- and social-level stressors in childhood, this risk was, respectively, 1.44 (95% CI 1.03 to 2.00) for depression, 3.17 (1.75 to 5.73) for conjugal violence, 4.75 (1.60 to 14.14) for child maltreatment and 1.75 (1.19 to 2.57) for alcohol dependence.


The adult consequences of parental violence in childhood-and this independently of the other forms of domestic violence and the related psychosocial risks-should lead to intensifying the prevention of and screening for this form of maltreatment of children.

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