Interparental Violence—Effects on Children
Although most studies are of concurrent impact, a few short-term prospective studies have been done. George Holden and colleagues (1998) found some improvement in behavior problems at six months following shelter stay, and Robert Emery (1996) also found improvement at twelve months for children in families where violence ceased. B. B. Robbie Rossman (2000) found violence cessation and modest services (6–12 sessions) were predictive of better child outcome one year later. It appears that violence cessation and intervention may be protective factors for children. Longer-term retrospective studies (e.g., Maker, Kemmelmeier, and Peterson 1998) do suggest that exposure effects may be carried into adult relationships.
One complication in interpreting impact research is that most participants have been from lower-income families, meaning that exposure often covaries with poverty and family stressors. A family's economic distress appears to provide a risk for children, because poverty may make it more likely that parents will be distressed, depressed, or nonsupportive, or provide harsh and inconsistent discipline (e.g., Harnish, Dodge, and Valente 1995).
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