Title

Parent–child warmth as a potential mediator of childhood exposure to intimate partner violence and positive adulthood functioning

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Links between childhood exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) and adult functioning are clear, but less research has examined the potential underpinnings of this association, especially the long-term effects of the parent–child relationship on adult well-being. We hypothesized that (i) childhood exposure to IPV would be negatively related to parent–child warmth and positively related to symptoms of psychopathology during adulthood and (ii) the relationship between IPV exposure and positive outcomes in adulthood (i.e., high life satisfaction and low psychopathology) would be mediated by parent–child warmth. Design: Participants included 703 Swedish adults (20–24). Methods: Participants responded to a self-report survey assessing violence exposure, parental warmth in childhood, and current mental health and well-being. Using multivariate regression and path analysis, models of the relationships between IPV exposure, parent–child warmth, symptoms of psychopathology during adulthood, and life satisfaction were examined. Mediation models were considered exploratory. Results: IPV exposure was related to lower levels of parent–child warmth, higher levels of psychopathology symptoms, and lower life satisfaction. The relationship between IPV exposure and positive outcomes in adulthood was mediated by parent–child warmth. Conclusions: Warm parent–child interactions may play a key role in long-term positive functioning for those exposed to IPV during childhood.

Publication Title

Anxiety, Stress and Coping

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