Physical Health in Preschool Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence


Exposure to violence and traumatic events during childhood has long been associated with poor physical and psychological health during adulthood. Very few studies, however, have taken steps to understand the immediate relationship between exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) and physical health problems in young children. In this study, we examined the mother-reported physical health problems of 102 preschool-age children who have been exposed to IPV. We found that children exhibiting more traumatic stress symptoms displayed fewer total health problems; however, gastrointestinal problems and asthma were related to poor psychological adjustment. We also found that preschool-age girls were more likely to display health problems than boys. Future studies of the physical health consequences of exposure to IPV in young children would benefit from examinations of specific changes in physiological processes to draw conclusions about the effects of violence on immune system functioning and physical health. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Publication Title

Journal of Family Violence