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J Interpers Violence. 2013 Sep;28(14):2873-93. doi: 10.1177/0886260513488685. Epub 2013 May 17.

Social support needs identified by mothers affected by intimate partner violence.

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Norlien/ACHF Chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health, Faculties of Nursing & Medicine Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada.


In order to offer optimal supports and services for mothers affected by intimate partner violence (IPV), an understanding of these mothers' perceptions of support needs, resources, barriers to support, and preferences for support intervention is warranted. Moreover, the growing recognition of the effects of IPV on maternal-infant relationships and of the importance of these early relationships to long-term child health outcomes suggests interventions are needed to support optimal maternal-infant relationships in these families. Thus, 64 mothers exposed to IPV when their infants were below 12 months of age participated in a retrospective qualitative study to identify mothers' support needs, resources, barriers to support, and preferences for specific support interventions to promote optimal mother-infant relationships. Participants identified both personal needs (including needs for leaving or staying with the violent partner), along with intertwined needs to care for, and help, their infants cope with the experience of violence. Mothers reported that integrated services that include information and practical support from professionals with emotional and affirmation support from peers would promote positive, nurturing mother-infant relationships and healthy child development.


caregiving; intimate partner violence; mother–child relationship; social support

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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