Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0(0), 1 – 30.
The present paper takes a closer look at children’s violent behavior, attitudes and quality of life. Results indicate that IPV has a significant negative effect on children’s quality of life, in particular on children’s sense of security at home and children’s life satisfaction.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) continues to be a global problem. Previous studies suggest that a high number of children are exposed to IPV during their childhood (Osofsky, 2003; Straus, 1992). Prevalence rates are available, for example, from the United States (25.0%; Finkelhor et al., 2015) or the United Kingdom (24.0%; Radford et al., 2011).The increasing international research, focusing on children who witness IPV, indicates that these circumstances might influence children in different ways. Studies indicate that children growing up in violent homes have more problems (e.g. emotional, cognitive, behavioral and social) than children growing up in non-violent homes (e.g. Gustafsson et al., 2014; Herrenkohl et al., 2008; Zinzow et al., 2009), even if the children have not been subjected to violence themselves. Using data from a German school student survey from 2017 and 2019 (with a sample size of 21,382), this paper aims to examine the consequences of witnessing IPV.
The present paper takes a closer look at children’s violent behavior, attitudes and quality of life while controlling for other potential influences (e.g. physical and psychological child abuse).
Results indicate that IPV has a significant negative effect on children’s quality of life, in particular on children’s sense of security at home and children’s life satisfaction. No other effects were significant. In discussing these complex dynamics, the results of the present study highlight the importance of considering children who witness IPV as direct victims. A home with personal threats cannot provide emotional and physical security. Coping with this absence of a secure base at home may lead to the neglect of important developmental tasks during that time, which can have possible far-reaching implications on different areas of children’s lives (e.g. social competence). Further research examining the severity and duration of witnessing IPV within the context of a longitudinal design is recommended.
(The expanded abstract is excerpted and adapted from the article cited above).