Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Interparental Violence and Children's Long-Term Psychosocial Adjustment: The Mediating Role of Parenting Practices

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Interparental Violence and Children's Long-Term Psychosocial Adjustment: The Mediating Role of Parenting Practices

Article excerpt

The objectives of this study were: (a) to examine the direct and indirect relationships among witnessing interparental violence, parenting practices, and children's long-term psychosocial adjustment; (b) to analyze the possible gender differences in the relationships specified. The sample consisted of 1295 Spanish university students (M age = 21.21, SD = 4.04). We performed statistical analyses using structural equation modeling. The results showed that witnessing parental violence as a child is related to poor long-term psychosocial adjustment during the child's adult years. Furthermore, we found that parenting practices fully mediated the relation between witnessing interparental violence and the child's longterm adjustment. The multigroup analyses showed that most of the relations among the variables did not differ significantly by gender. However, the relation between harsh discipline and antisocial behavior was stronger for males, whereas the relation between harsh discipline and depressive symptoms was stronger for females. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings for the clinicians and specialists who plan and develop intervention programs for populations at risk.

Keywords: partner violence, parenting, long-term psychosocial adjustment, antisocial behavior, depressive symptoms.

Los objetivos de este estudio fueron: a) analizar las relaciones directas e indirectas entre la exposición a la violencia marital, la conducta parental y el ajuste psicosocial a largo plazo de los hijos; b) examinar la posible existencia de diferencias en las relaciones analizadas en función del sexo del participante. La muestra estuvo compuesta por 1295 estudiantes universitarios (74.4% mujeres; Medad = 21.21, DT = 4.04). Para analizar las hipótesis del estudio se estimaron varios modelos de ecuaciones estructurales. Los hallazgos sugieren que la relación entre violencia marital y ajuste psicosocial de los hijos a largo plazo se produce de forma indirecta a través de un deterioro de diversos aspectos de la conducta parental. Concretamente, las dimensiones de disciplina severa, afecto/apoyo parental y consistencia interparental e intraparental mediaron la relación entre la exposición a la violencia parental y sintomatología depresiva a largo plazo de los hijos. Por su parte, la disciplina severa y la consistencia intraparental mediaron la relación entre la violencia parental y las conductas antisociales. Los análisis por sexo revelaron que la mayoría de las relaciones observadas fueron similares entre hombres y mujeres. No obstante, la relación entre la disciplina severa y la conducta antisocial fue más fuerte para los varones, mientras que la asociación entre la disciplina severa y la sintomatología depresiva fue más elevada para las mujeres. Finalmente, se discuten las implicaciones de estos resultados para la planificación de programas de intervención con poblaciones de riesgo.

Palabras clave: violencia en la pareja, conducta parental, ajuste psicosocial a largo plazo, conducta antisocial, sintomatología depresiva.

In the past few decades, physical and psychological partner violence has been acknowledged as a crucial public health issue with important negative social and individual consequences (Ackard & Neumark-Sztainer, 2002; Almendros, Gámez-Guadix, Carrobles, Rodríguez- Carballeira, & Porrúa, 2009). One of its most important effects is suffered by the children within the family context, who are often the helpless victims of the aggressions between their parents. In this sense, researchers have found that witnessing parental violence is associated with a broad range of social, psychological, emotional, and behavioral problems in children, including aggressive and disruptive behavior (Erath , Bierman, & Conduct Problems Prevention Research Goup, 2006), tendencies to internalize problems (i.e., depression, anxiety, and withdrawal) (Katz & Gottman, 1993), poor academic performance (Ghazarian & Buehler, 2010), alcohol and drug consumption (Straus, 1992), and posttraumatic stress disorder (Lang & Stover, 2008). …

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