Child exposure to domestic violence (CEDV) is recognized as one of important risk factors for building healthy relationships between parents and their children. Previous studies have focused on various outcomes of children exposed to domestic violence or parenting behaviors of battered mothers and battering fathers. However, little is known about complex relationships among CEDV, parenting behaviors, and children's feelings and perceptions toward their parents suffering from domestic violence. To fill this gap in the current literature, this study aimed to examine: (1) how CEDV influences children's complicated and ambivalent feelings (e.g., love, hatred, empathy, blame) toward each of their battered mothers and battering fathers or partners; (2) how children's perceptions on parenting mediate the effect of CEDV on such ambivalent feelings; and (3) whether there are any differences between female and male children in these relationships. The sample of this study included children aged 10 to 16 who might have been exposed to adult domestic violence. 99 Participants were recruited through domestic violence shelters and community organizations in Twin Cities area. Missing data were imputed using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) multiple imputation and multiple-group path analysis was conducted to explore relationships between CEDV, parenting behaviors, and ambivalent feelings, and to investigate whether these relationships differ between male and female participants. The findings showed that there were significant differences between male and female children in how they feel about their parents in domestic violence. Female children reported a higher level of total CEDV, violence, and exposure to violence at home, and also showed more negative attitudes toward their abusive fathers. Not surprisingly, participants had more positive attitudes toward their abused mothers and perceived mother's parenting as more positive and supportive. Findings indicated that certain types of CEDV were associated with children's ambivalence toward parents, and this relationship was mediated by children's perceptions on parenting. These relationships were found to be different between male and female children. The study findings provide implications for social work researchers and professionals to better understand children exposed to domestic violence and to help them build healthier relationships with their parents living through domestic violence.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2013. Major: Social Work. Advisor: Jeffrey L. Edleson. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 139 pages, appendices A-G.
Effects of child exposure to domestic violence on the child-parent relationship based on the child's ambivalence toward the parents.
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