In-Home Social Networks and Positive Adjustment in Children Witnessing Intimate Partner Violence


Evidence suggests that social support may act as a potential protective factor for psychological maladjustment, but few studies have examined the social support networks of young children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). The present study examined the in-home networks for 120 preschool-age children who were recently exposed to male-to-female IPV. Results indicated that larger in-home networks were associated with fewer child internalizing and externalizing problems. Mother's education level was found to moderate the relationship between total in-home network size and child adjustment, such that that when mothers had low levels of education, children had fewer overall adjustment problems as network size increased. When mothers had high levels of education, child adjustment did not significantly vary as network size increased. These findings suggest that the presence of extended family members in the home can positively influence child functioning following exposure to male-to-female IPV. © The Author(s) 2013.

Publication Title

Journal of Family Issues