Resilience among children exposed to domestic violence: the role of risk and protective factors

Child Dev. Mar-Apr 2009;80(2):562-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01279.x.


Individual and family characteristics that predict resilience among children exposed to domestic violence (DV) were examined. Mother-child dyads (n = 190) were assessed when the children were 2, 3, and 4 years of age. DV-exposed children were 3.7 times more likely than nonexposed children to develop internalizing or externalizing problems. However, 54% of DV-exposed children maintained positive adaptation and were characterized by easy temperament (odds ratio [OR] = .39, d = .52) and nondepressed mothers (OR = 1.14, d = .07), as compared to their nonresilient counterparts. Chronic DV was associated with maternal depression, difficult child temperament, and internalizing or externalizing symptoms. Results underscore heterogeneous outcomes among DV-exposed children and the influence of individual and family characteristics on children's adaptation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Temperament*