Objective: This exploratory study investigated the co-occurrence of domestic violence and three types of child maltreatment: physical child abuse, psychological child abuse, and child neglect. Method: A sample of 2544 at-risk mothers with first-born children participated in a home-visiting child abuse prevention program. A longitudinal design using multiple data collection methods investigated the effect of domestic violence during the first 6 months of child rearing on confirmed physical child abuse, psychological child abuse, and child neglect up to the child's first 5 years. Results: Logistic regressions revealed significant relationships between domestic violence and physical child abuse, psychological child abuse, and child neglect. These effects were significant beyond the significant effects of known risks of maltreatment, as measured by the Kempe Family Stress Inventory (KFSI). Domestic violence occurred in 59 (38%) of the 155 cases of confirmed maltreatment. Domestic violence preceded child maltreatment in 46 (78%) of the 59 cases of co-occurrence, as indicated by independent home observations and child protective service records. Conclusions: The findings indicate that domestic violence during the first 6 months of child rearing is significantly related to all three types of child maltreatment up to the child's fifth year. Domestic violence and risks factors measured on the KFSI continue to contribute to all three types of maltreatment up to the child's fifth year. Prevention programs would be wise to provide services to at-risk families until the child is at least 5 years old. Addressing concurrent problems during treatment may enhance intervention.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health