Child Adjustment after Parental Separation: Variations by Gender, Age, and Maternal Experiences of Violence during Marriage

Elissa Thomann Mitchell, Angela M. Whittaker, Marcela Raffaelli, Jennifer L. Hardesty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined variations in children’s post-separation adjustment based on child characteristics (gender and age) and maternal experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) during marriage. Mothers (N = 147) recruited within 12 weeks of a divorce filing took part in two interviews three months apart. They reported on marital IPV at Time 1, and their children’s (47% female; ages 3–17) adjustment 3 months later at Time 2. Four aspects of child adjustment were assessed using a standardized measure (hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer problems). Mothers were classified as having experienced coercive controlling violence (CCV; 23.8%), situational couple violence (SCV; 27.9%), or no violence (48.3%) during marriage. Gender differences were found on one of the four child adjustment indicators: boys had higher levels of hyperactivity than girls. Among boys but not girls, hyperactivity scores varied based on age and IPV type. Implications for practitioners and researchers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Child adjustment
  • Child well-being
  • Coercive control
  • Divorce
  • Effects on children
  • Intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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