Moderating the Effects of Childhood Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence: The Roles of Parenting Characteristics and Adolescent Peer Support

J Res Adolesc. 2011 Jun;21(2):376-394. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00676.x.


We investigate parenting characteristics and adolescent peer support as potential moderators of the effects of childhood exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) on adolescent outcomes. Lehigh Longitudinal Study (N=416) data include parent and adolescent reports of childhood IPV exposure. Exposure to IPV predicted nearly all adverse outcomes examined, however after accounting for co-occurring child abuse and early child behavior problems, IPV predicted only one outcome. Several moderator effects were identified. Parental "acceptance" of the child moderated the effects of IPV exposure on the likelihood of teenage pregnancy and running away from home. Both peer communication and peer trust moderated the relationship between exposure to IPV and depression and running from home. Peer communication also moderated the effects of IPV exposure on high school dropout. Interventions that influence parenting practices and strengthen peer support for youth exposed to IPV may increase protection and decrease risk of several tested outcomes.