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The Effects of Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence on Children’s Development  

Author:  Courtney A.  Crittenden.; Emily M.  Wright.; Abigail A.  Fagan.

Source: Volume 04, Number 02, Fall 2011 , pp.113-123(11)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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Previous research indicates that intimate partner violence (IPV) increases the likelihood of negative outcomes for children exposed to it, including the use of violence, drug use, and poor mental health. Yet this work often overlooks potential complexities in how IPV exposure may affect children’s development. For example, the impact of IPV may be felt immediately or develop over time; its effects may vary for boys and girls; and other life experiences may affect the extent to which exposure to IPV influences children’s outcomes. This article summarizes the main findings of a research project examining the degree to which exposure to IPV affects youths’ interpersonal violence, drug use, and internalizing (i.e., depression, anxiety, withdrawn, and somatic) symptoms, using data from a large and diverse group of adolescents from Chicago. Findings indicated that IPV exposure did result in some negative consequences for both boys and girls, but its impact was not as large as reported in other research and did not always vary by neighborhood as predicted. Overall, the results suggest that youth development is a complex process, and further research of the ways in which families and neighborhoods jointly influence children is needed in order to better understand this issue and develop policies and practices to foster healthy youth development.

Keywords: Interpersonal violence; drug use; mental health outcomes; neighborhood violence

Affiliations:  1: University of South Carolina; 2: University of South Carolina; 3: University of South Carolina.

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