Title

Systemic Factors Associated With Prosocial Skills and Maladaptive Functioning in Youth Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence

Abstract

Children are frequently present in homes in which intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs. Following exposure to IPV, children may develop behavioral health difficulties, struggle with regulating emotions, or exhibit aggression. Despite the negative outcomes associated with witnessing IPV, many children also display resilience. Guided by Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model, this study examined person-level, process-level (microsystem), and context-level (mesosystem) factors associated with positive and negative functioning among youth exposed to IPV. Participants were 118 mothers who reported on their 6- to 14-year-old children. All mothers experienced severe physical, psychological, and/or sexual IPV in the past 6 months. Linear regression modeling was conducted separately for youth maladaptive functioning and prosocial skills. The linear regression model for maladaptive functioning was significant, F(6, 110) = 9.32, p <.001, adj R2 = 27%, with more severe IPV (β =.18, p <.05) and more negative parenting practices (β =.34, p <.001) associated with worse child outcomes. The model for prosocial skills was also significant, F(6, 110) = 3.34, p <.01, adj. R2 = 14%, with less negative parenting practices (β = −.26, p <.001) and greater community connectedness (β =.17, p <.05) linked to more prosocial skills. These findings provide critical knowledge on specific mutable factors associated with positive and negative functioning among children in the context of IPV exposure. Such factors could be incorporated into strength-based interventions following family violence.

Publication Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

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