Objective: To assess the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) against pregnant women on subsequent perpetration of child abuse and neglect (CAN) by parents; and to test the mediation effect of recent IPV on the link between IPV during pregnancy and subsequent CAN.
Methods: This study was a longitudinal follow-up of a population-based study on pregnancy IPV conducted in antenatal clinics in 7 public hospitals in Hong Kong in 2005. Of all participants in the 2005 study, we recruited 487 women (with 184 having reported pregnancy IPV in the 2005 study) with newborn babies for a follow-up telephone interview in 2008. Participants responded to the Abuse Assessment Screen (AAS), the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale, and some questions assessing demographic information.
Results: The most common form of physical violence was corporal punishment, with a prevalence rate of 75.1% in the preceding year and 75.4% over their lifetime. Physical maltreatment was less likely to be reported, accounting for 4.7% in the preceding year and 4.9% over their lifetime. The preceding-year and lifetime prevalence rates of neglect were 11.3% and 11.5%, respectively. Findings from logistic regression analyses showed that IPV experienced by participants during pregnancy was associated with greater odds of both lifetime (aOR=1.74) and preceding-year child physical maltreatment (aOR=1.78). Results of the regression analyses also provided supportive evidence for the mediation effect of recent IPV victimization on the relationship between IPV during pregnancy and recent CAN against children.
Conclusion: IPV against women during pregnancy predicted subsequent CAN on newborns in Chinese populations. This underscores the importance of screening pregnant women for IPV in order to prevent CAN at an early stage. Home visitations are suggested to break the cycle of violence within a nuclear family.
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