Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 201-212

First online:

The Relation Between Intimate Partner Violence, Parenting Stress, and Child Behavior Problems

  • Lynette M. RennerAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, University of Iowa Email author 
  • , Shamra Boel-StudtAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, University of Iowa

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Parenting characteristics can have a significant influence on how children are affected by family violence. The purpose of this study was to explore the role women’s parenting stress plays in the relationship between exposure to physical and psychological intimate partner violence (IPV) and children’s externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. Data for this study were taken from three waves of the Illinois Families Study. The final sample included 1,653 children from 805 families. Structural equation modeling analyses were conducted across two developmental stages in order to better understand the unique relationships based on child development. For children ages 6–12 years, parenting stress mediated the relationship between exposure to psychological IPV and internalizing behaviors. No direct or indirect pathways between exposure to IPV and children’s behavior problems were found among adolescents ages 13–17. Implications for social service interventions with children and families exposed to violence are included.


Physical victimization Psychological victimization Maternal stress Externalizing behavior Internalizing behavior Family violence