Longitudinal study on the effects of child abuse and children's exposure to domestic violence, parent-child attachments, and antisocial behavior in adolescence

J Interpers Violence. 2011 Jan;26(1):111-36. doi: 10.1177/0886260510362883. Epub 2010 May 10.


This study examined the unique and combined effects of child abuse and children's exposure to domestic violence on later attachment to parents and antisocial behavior during adolescence. Analyses also investigated whether the interaction of exposure and low attachment predicted youth outcomes. Findings suggest that, although youth dually exposed to abuse and domestic violence were less attached to parents in adolescence than those who were not exposed, for those who were abused only and those who were exposed only to domestic violence, the relationship between exposure types and youth outcomes did not differ by level of attachment to parents. However, stronger bonds of attachment to parents in adolescence did appear to predict a lower risk of antisocial behavior independent of exposure status. Preventing child abuse and children's exposure to domestic violence could lessen the risk of antisocial behavior during adolescence, as could strengthening parent-child attachments in adolescence. However, strengthening attachments between parents and children after exposure may not be sufficient to counter the negative impact of earlier violence trauma in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Social Conformity