Intimate partner violence, maternal stress, nativity, and risk for maternal maltreatment of young children

Am J Public Health. 2009 Jan;99(1):175-83. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.126722. Epub 2008 Nov 13.


Objectives: We examined the associations of intimate partner violence (IPV) and maternal risk factors with maternal child maltreatment risk within a diverse sample of mothers.

Methods: We derived the study sample (N=2508) from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study. We conducted regression analyses to examine associations between IPV, parenting stress, major depression, key covariates, and 4 proxy variables for maternal child maltreatment.

Results: Mothers reported an average of 25 acts of psychological aggression and 17 acts of physical aggression against their 3-year-old children in the year before the study, 11% reported some act of neglect toward their children during the same period, and 55% had spanked their children during the previous month. About 40% of mothers had experienced IPV by their current partner. IPV and maternal parenting stress were both consistent risk factors for all 4 maltreatment proxy variables. Although foreign-born mothers reported fewer incidents of child maltreatment, the IPV relative risk for child maltreatment was greater for foreign-born than for US-born mothers.

Conclusions: Further integration of IPV and child maltreatment prevention and intervention efforts is warranted; such efforts must carefully balance the needs of adult and child victims.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aggression* / psychology
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Louisiana / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Maternal Welfare / psychology
  • Maternal Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Spouses / psychology
  • Spouses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*