interpartner violence; domestic violence; child behaviors; parenting
It is estimated that approximately 25% of women and 7.6% of men report experiencing violence from their romantic partner during their lifetime. Additionally, in households where interpartner violence occurs, there are between 3.3 and 10 million children in the United States alone. It is important to understand the cycle of domestic violence that can occur, as it can inform us about expected outcomes across time. This study examined mothers' childhood exposure to their own parents' domestic violence. It was hypothesized that childhood exposure to domestic violence would be related to unhealthy intimate relationships and to the development of maladaptive parenting behaviors during adulthood. These experiences also were hypothesized to be related to the behaviors of the mothers' young children. For this study, 133 mothers with children who ranged in age from 1½- to 5-years participated. Results indicated that exposure to domestic violence in childhood was related significantly to the likelihood of experiencing interpartner violence later in life. Also, having a personal history of interpartner violence in adulthood was related to higher rates of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in mothers' young children. Further, findings demonstrated a relationship between mothers' parenting behaviors and behavior problems in their children. Future research is needed to investigate further the mediators and moderators in the relationship between mothers' childhood exposure to domestic violence and behavior problems in their young children to broaden the literature on this topic. This information may be critical for treatment planning and intervention development for families who experience domestic violence.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Stephenson, J'Nelle, "Childhood Experiences and Domestic Violence: The Role that Interpartner Violence Plays in Relationship Functioning and Parenting Behaviors in Adulthood." (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6043.