Using a national sample of families referred to child welfare, this study examined the link between self-reported physical domestic-violence victimization (both recent and more than a year in the past) and self-reported child disciplinary practices among female parents/caregivers.
The study found that domestic-violence victimization was associated with more self-reported aggressive and neglectful child disciplinary behaviors among female caregivers. A total 443 women reported being a domestic-violence victim within the previous year; 1,161 women reported being a victim of domestic violence over a year ago; and 2,025 women reported experiencing no domestic-violence victimization. Any prior domestic-violence victimization was associated with higher rates of self-reported psychological aggression, physical aggression, and neglectful disciplinary behaviors in comparison with those women with no domestic-violence victimization. After controlling for child behavior, demographic factors, and maternal characteristics, the women who experienced either recent or remote domestic violence used more self-reported psychological aggression with their children; only caregivers with recent domestic-violence victimization used more physical aggression or neglectful behaviors regarding child discipline. Child welfare agencies should conduct routine, structured assessments for domestic violence among parents/caregivers and develop parenting interventions designed to reduce harmful child disciplinary practices for parents who have been or are being victimized by domestic violence. The study involved a cross-sectional survey of just over 3,000 female caregivers in the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being. This was a nationally representative sample of children and their families referred to child welfare agencies for investigation of abuse and neglect. Women reported physical domestic-violence victimization and their disciplinary practices with their children on versions of the Conflict Tactics Scales. 4 tables and 22 references