Intimate partner violence exposure in early childhood: an ecobiodevelopmental perspective

Health Soc Work. 2013 Nov;38(4):231-9. doi: 10.1093/hsw/hlt018.


Approximately 15.5 million children in the United States reside in households in which interpersonal violence is recurrent. Young children are more likely than older children to be present in the home when violence between adults occurs. In a recent technical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics renewed its call to invest in research and intervention resources for children younger than five years of age. The report also outlined the ecobiodevelopmental (EBD) framework, an emerging cross-disciplinary understanding of stress and coping response in very young children. The EBD framework explains how unresolved stress experienced by infants, toddlers, and preschoolers has toxic effects on their development. The framework could also expand opportunities for social workers who have an interest in research and clinical work involving very young children exposed to violence.

MeSH terms

  • Avoidance Learning
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Child Development*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mother-Child Relations / psychology*
  • Object Attachment
  • Social Work / methods
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Time