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The Stress of Motherhood and Intimate Partner Violence During Emerging Adulthood

NCJ Number
Emerging Adulthood Dated: 2021
Date Published

Drawing on the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS) (n = 492), and the stress process framework, we compared emerging adult mothers’ (mothers with one child and mothers with multiple children) and non-mothers’ reports of physical violence.


Intimate partner violence is a serious social and public health problem for women. Researchers have shown the context in which intimate partner violence occurs matters, yet, prior work has not examined specifically whether motherhood, and the relationship context of motherhood, are associated with physical violence. Using negative binomial regression models, the current study found that mothers with multiple children compared with nonmothers reported more instances of relationship violence. We also found women in dating relationships with one child compared to non-mothers reported substantially more physical violence. These findings underscore the nature of stress and motherhood during emerging adulthood and the need for intervention strategies that target new mothers. (Publisher Abstract)


Date Published: January 1, 2021