Exposure to Family Violence and Adolescent Aggression in Multiple Social Contexts: Classroom Social Resources as Moderators

  • Laura BeckmannEmail author
Original Article


Using a risk and resilience framework, the present study examined perceived classroom social resources (teacher control, teacher-student support, and supportive student-student relationships) as moderators of the association between family violence (parent-to-child physical violence, intimate partner violence (IPV) between parents) and aggression toward parents, schoolteachers, and dating partners. Data were drawn from a large self-report school survey of ninth grade students in Lower Saxony, Germany (n = 10,638) from which three subsamples were generated (n = 3548, n = 3534, and n = 4351). Controlling for demographic, behavioral, and school factors, results showed that parent-to-child physical violence was consistently related to aggression across social contexts, while IPV showed significant associations with adolescent-to-parent physical aggression. Against expectations, teacher control was linked with more frequent verbal aggression toward dating partners, while teacher-student suppport was associated with lower verbal aggression across contexts as well as with lower physical aggression toward dating partners. Supportive student-student relationships were associated with less frequent verbal aggression toward parents and dating partners as well as with less frequent physical aggression toward teachers. Furthermore, three significant interaction terms were identified: Students exposed to more frequent IPV and perceiving higher-quality classroom resources (teacher control and supportive student-student relationships) reported less aggression toward parents than at-risk students who perceived classroom resources as low. Intervention programs may benefit from an approach that aims to reduce exposure to violence in the family, while targeting the buffering potential of teacher control and student-student relationships regarding aggression toward parents.


Family violence Intimate partner violence Child-to-parent violence Social resources Moderators Classroom climate 



  1. Allen, K. P. (2010). Classroom management, bullying, and teacher practices. Professional Educator, 34(1), 1–15 .Google Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs.Google Scholar
  3. Beckmann, L., Bergmann, M. C., Fischer, F., & Mößle, T. (2017). Risk and protective factors of child-to-parent violence: A comparison between physical and verbal aggression. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 886260517746129.
  4. Benson, M. J., & Buehler, C. (2012). Family process and peer deviance influences on adolescent aggression: Longitudinal effects across early and middle adolescence. Child Development, 83(4), 1213–1228. Scholar
  5. Berg, J. K., & Cornell, D. (2016). Authoritative school climate, aggression toward teachers, and teacher distress in middle school. School Psychology Quarterly, 31(1), 122–139. Scholar
  6. Bergmann, M. C., Baier, D., Rehbein, F., & Mößle, T. (2017). Jugendliche in Niedersachsen. Ergebnisse des Niedersachsensurveys 2013 und 2015: [Adolescents in Lower Saxony. Results of two representative school surveys conducted in 2013 and 2015]. Hannover: KFN Forschungsbericht Nr. 131.Google Scholar
  7. Bokhorst, C. L., Sumter, S. R., & Westenberg, P. M. (2010). Social support from parents, friends, classmates, and teachers in children and adolescents aged 9 to 18 years: Who is perceived as most supportive? Social Development, 19(2), 417–426. Scholar
  8. Browne, K. D., & Hamilton, C. E. (1998). Physical violence between young adults and their parents: Associations with a history of child maltreatment. Journal of Family Violence, 13(1), 59–79. Scholar
  9. Calvete, E., Orue, I., & Gámez-Guadix, M. (2013). Child-to-parent violence: Emotional and behavioral predictors. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(4), 755–772. Scholar
  10. Cascardi, M., & Jouriles, E. N. (2018). Mechanisms underlying the association of exposure to family of origin violence and adolescent dating violence. In D. A. Wolfe & J. R. Temple (Eds.), Adolescent dating violence: Theory, research, and prevention (pp. 159–188). London: Academic Press. Scholar
  11. Chen, J.-K., & Astor, R. A. (2009). Students’ reports of violence against teachers in Taiwanese schools. Journal of School Violence, 8(1), 2–17. Scholar
  12. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  13. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 310–357. Scholar
  14. Conger, R. D., Conger, K. J., & Martin, M. J. (2010). Socioeconomic status, family processes, and individual development. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(3), 685–704. Scholar
  15. Demaray, M. K., Malecki, C. K., Davidson, L. M., Hodgson, K. K., & Rebus, P. J. (2005). The relationship between social support and student adjustment: A longitudinal analysis. Psychology in the Schools, 42(7), 691–706. Scholar
  16. Douglas, K. S., & Lyon, D. R. (1999). Violence against British Columbia teachers: Report of the Simon Fraser University/British Columbia Teachers’ Federation violence against teachers survey. BCTF Research.Google Scholar
  17. Estévez López, E., Pérez, S. M., Ochoa, G. M., & Ruiz, D. M. (2008). Adolescent aggression: Effects of gender and family and school environments. Journal of Adolescence, 31(4), 433–450. Scholar
  18. Fabrigar, L. R., Wegener, D. T., MacCallum, R. C., & Strahan, E. J. (1999). Evaluating the use of exploratory factor analysis in psychological research. Psychological Methods, 4, 272–299. Scholar
  19. Fernández-González, L., Wekerle, C., & Goldstein, A. L. (2014). Measuring adolescent dating violence: Development of ‘conflict in adolescent dating relationships inventory’ short form. Advances in Mental Health, 11(1), 35–54. Scholar
  20. Foshee, V. A., Karriker-Jaffe, K. J., Reyes, H. L., Ennett, S. T., Suchindran, C., Bauman, K. E., & Benefield, T. S. (2008). What accounts for demographic differences in trajectories of adolescent dating violence? An examination of intrapersonal and contextual mediators. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(6), 596–604. Scholar
  21. Gámez-Guadix, M., & Calvete, E. (2012). Child-to-parent violence and its association with exposure to marital violence and parent-to-child violence. Psicothema, 24(2), 277–283.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Gershoff, E. T., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016). Spanking and child outcomes: Old controversies and new meta-analyses. Journal of Family Psychology: JFP: Journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 30(4), 453–469. Scholar
  23. Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gottfredson, G. D., Gottfredson, D. C., Payne, A. A., & Gottfredson, N. C. (2005). School climate predictors of school disorder: Results from a national study of delinquency prevention in schools. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 42(4), 412–444. Scholar
  25. Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C., Bursik, R., & Arneklev, B. J. (1993). Testing the core empirical implications of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30(1), 5–29. Scholar
  26. Hawkins, J. D., & Weis, J. G. (1985). The social development model: An integrated approach to delinquency prevention. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 6(2), 73–97. Scholar
  27. Haynie, D. L., Farhat, T., Brooks-Russell, A., Wang, J., Barbieri, B., & Iannotti, R. J. (2013). Dating violence perpetration and victimization among U.S. adolescents: Prevalence, patterns, and associations with health complaints and substance use. The Journal of Adolescent Health : Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 53(2), 194–201. Scholar
  28. Hoffmann, J. P., & Dufur, M. J. (2008). Family and school capital effects on delinquency: Substitutes or complements? Sociological Perspectives, 51(1), 29–62. Scholar
  29. Holmbeck, G. N. (2002). Post-hoc probing of significant moderational and mediational effects in studies of pediatric populations. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27(1), 87–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hong, J. S., Kral, M. J., Espelage, D. L., & Allen-Meares, P. (2012). The social ecology of adolescent-initiated parent abuse: A review of the literature. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 43(3), 431–454. Scholar
  31. Ibabe, I., & Bentler, P. M. (2016). The contribution of family relationships to child-to-parent violence. Journal of Family Violence, 31(2), 259–269. Scholar
  32. Ibabe, I., Arnoso, A., & Elgorriaga, E. (2016). Ambivalent sexism inventory: Adaptation to Basque population and sexism as a risk factor of dating violence. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 19, E78. Scholar
  33. Ibabe, I., & Jaureguizar, J. (2010). Child-to-parent violence: Profile of abusive adolescents and their families. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(4), 616–624. Scholar
  34. Ibabe, I., Jaureguizar, J., & Bentler, P. M. (2013). Protective factors for adolescent violence against authority. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 16, E76. Scholar
  35. Idema, H., & Phalet, K. (2007). Transmission of gender-role values in Turkish-German migrant families: The role of gender, intergenerational and intercultural relations. Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, 19(1), 71–105.Google Scholar
  36. Izaguirre, A., & Calvete, E. (2016). Exposure to family violence as a predictor of dating violence and child-to-parent aggression in Spanish adolescents. Youth & Society, 49, 1–20. Scholar
  37. Johnson, W. L., Giordano, P. C., Manning, W. D., & Longmore, M. A. (2014). The age-IPV curve: Changes in intimate partner violence perpetration during adolescence and young adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(3), 708–726. Scholar
  38. Kennedy, T. D., Edmonds, W. A., Dann, K. T. J., & Burnett, K. F. (2010). The clinical and adaptive features of young offenders with histories of child-parent violence. Journal of Family Violence, 25(5), 509–520. Scholar
  39. Khoury-Kassabri, M., Astor, R. A., & Benbenishty, R. (2009). Middle eastern adolescents’ perpetration of school violence against peers and teachers: A cross-cultural and ecological analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(1), 159–182. Scholar
  40. Kinsfogel, K. M., & Grych, J. H. (2004). Interparental conflict and adolescent dating relationships: Integrating cognitive, emotional, and peer influences. Journal of Family Psychology: JFP: Journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 18(3), 505–515. Scholar
  41. Kuay, H. S., Lee, S., Centifanti, L. C. M., Parnis, A. C., Mrozik, J. H., & Tiffin, P. A. (2016). Adolescents as perpetrators of aggression within the family. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 47, 60–67. Scholar
  42. Leen, E., Sorbring, E., Mawer, M., Holdsworth, E., Helsing, B., & Bowen, E. (2013). Prevalence, dynamic risk factors and the efficacy of primary interventions for adolescent dating violence: An international review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(1), 159–174. Scholar
  43. Leithwood, K., & Jantzi, D. (2009). A review of empirical evidence about school size effects: A policy perspective. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 464–490. Scholar
  44. Lewis, S. F., & Fremouw, W. (2001). Dating violence: A critical review of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 21(1), 105–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Longobardi, C., Badenes-Ribera, L., Fabris, M. A., Martinez, A., & McMahon, S. D. (2019). Prevalence of student violence against teachers: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Violence, 9(6), 596–610. Scholar
  46. Lösel, F., & Farrington, D. P. (2012). Direct protective and buffering protective factors in the development of youth violence. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 43, S8–S23. Scholar
  47. Ludy-Dobson, C., & Perry, B. (2010). The role of healthy relational interactions in buffering the impact of childhood trauma. In E. Gil (Ed.), Working with children to heal interpersonal trauma: The power of play (pp. 26–43). New York [et al.]: Guilford.Google Scholar
  48. MacMillan, H. L., Wathen, C. N., Barlow, J., Fergusson, D. M., Leventhal, J. M., & Taussig, H. N. (2009). Interventions to prevent child maltreatment and associated impairment. The Lancet, 373(9659), 250–266. Scholar
  49. Maldonado-Carreño, C., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2011). Teacher-child relationships and the development of academic and behavioral skills during elementary school: A within- and between-child analysis. Child Development, 82(2), 601–616. Scholar
  50. Margolin, G., & Baucom, B. R. (2014). Adolescents’ aggression to parents: Longitudinal links with parents’ physical aggression. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(5), 645–651. Scholar
  51. McGrath, K. F., & van Bergen, P. (2015). Who, when, why and to what end? Students at risk of negative student–teacher relationships and their outcomes. Educational Research Review, 14, 1–17. Scholar
  52. Meehan, B. T., Hughes, J. N., & Cavell, T. A. (2003). Teacher-student relationships as compensatory resources for aggressive children. Child Development, 74(4), 1145–1157. Scholar
  53. Miller-Lewis, L. R., Searle, A. K., Sawyer, M. G., Baghurst, P. A., & Hedley, D. (2013). Resource factors for mental health resilience in early childhood: An analysis with multiple methodologies. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 7, 6. Scholar
  54. Mortimer, J. T., & Call, K. T. (2001). Arenas of comfort in adolescence. A study of adjustment in context. New York: Psychology Press.
  55. Muñoz-Rivas, M. J., Graña, J. L., O’Leary, K. D., & González, M. P. (2007). Aggression in adolescent dating relationships: Prevalence, justification, and health consequences. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(4), 298–304. Scholar
  56. O’Hara, K. L., Duchschere, J. E., Beck, C. J. A., & Lawrence, E. (2017). Adolescent-to-parent violence: Translating research into effective practice. Adolescent Research Review, 2(3), 181–198. Scholar
  57. Obsuth, I., Mueller Johnson, K., Murray, A. L., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2018). Violent poly-victimization: The longitudinal patterns of physical and emotional victimization throughout adolescence (11-17 years). Journal of Research on Adolescence, 28(4), 786–806. Scholar
  58. Obsuth, I., Murray, A. L., Malti, T., Sulger, P., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2017). A non-bipartite propensity score analysis of the effects of teacher-student relationships on adolescent problem and prosocial behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(8), 1661–1687. Scholar
  59. O’Leary, K. D., Smith Slep, A. M., Avery-Leaf, S., & Cascardi, M. (2008). Gender differences in dating aggression among multiethnic high school students. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(5), 473–479. Scholar
  60. Oliver, R. M., Wehby, J. H., & Reschly, D. J. (2011). Teacher classroom management practices: Effects on disruptive or aggressive student behavior. Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. Retrieved from
  61. Piotrowska, P. J., Stride, C. B., Croft, S. E., & Rowe, R. (2015). Socioeconomic status and antisocial behaviour among children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 35, 47–55. Scholar
  62. Powers, J. (2010). Ecological risk and resilience perspective: A theoretical framework supporting evidence-based practice in schools. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 7(5), 443–451. Scholar
  63. Rabold, S., & Baier, D. (2011). Why are some ethnic groups more violent than others? The role of friendship network’s ethnic composition. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(15), 3127–3156. Scholar
  64. Routt, G., & Anderson, L. (2011). Adolescent violence towards parents. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 20(1), 1–19. Scholar
  65. Rutter, M. (1985). Resilience in the face of adversity. British Journal of Psychiatry, 147(6), 598–611. Scholar
  66. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (2005). A life-course view of the development of crime. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 602, 12–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Silver, R. B., Measelle, J. R., Armstrong, J. M., & Essex, M. J. (2005). Trajectories of classroom externalizing behavior: Contributions of child characteristics, family characteristics, and the teacher–child relationship during the school transition. Journal of School Psychology, 43(1), 39–60. Scholar
  68. Simmons, R. G., & Blyth, D. A. (1987). Moving into adolescence: The impact of pubertal change and school context. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  69. Simmons, M., McEwan, T. E., Purcell, R., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2018). Sixty years of child-to-parent abuse research: What we know and where to go. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 38, 31–52. Scholar
  70. Straus, M. A. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The conflict tactics (CT) scales. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41(1), 75–88. Scholar
  71. Thomas, D. E., Bierman, K. L., & Powers, C. J. (2011). The influence of classroom aggression and classroom climate on aggressive-disruptive behavior. Child Development, 82(3), 751–757. Scholar
  72. Vaughan-Jensen, J., Smith, D. M., Blake, J. J., Keith, V. M., & Willson, V. K. (2018). Breaking the cycle of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence: The effects of student gender and caring relationships with teachers. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 1, 1–19. Scholar
  73. Walsh, J. A., & Krienert, J. L. (2007). Child–parent violence: An empirical analysis of offender, victim, and event characteristics in a national sample of reported incidents. Journal of Family Violence, 22(7), 563–574. Scholar
  74. Wang, M.-T., Brinkworth, M., & Eccles, J. (2013). Moderating effects of teacher-student relationship in adolescent trajectories of emotional and behavioral adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 49(4), 690–705. Scholar
  75. Wathen, C. N., & MacMillan, H. L. (2013). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence: Impacts and interventions. Paediatrics & Child Health, 18(8), 419–422.Google Scholar
  76. Wentzel, K. R., Russell, S., & Baker, S. (2016). Emotional support and expectations from parents, teachers, and peers predict adolescent competence at school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(2), 242–255. Scholar
  77. Willems, Y. E., Li, J.-B., Hendriks, A. M., Bartels, M., & Finkenauer, C. (2018). The relationship between family violence and self-control in adolescence: A multi-level meta-analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 2468. Scholar
  78. Wincentak, K., Connolly, J., & Card, N. (2017). Teen dating violence: A meta-analytic review of prevalence rates. Psychology of Violence, 7(2), 224–241. Scholar
  79. Wolfe, D. A., Scott, K., Reitzel-Jaffe, D., Wekerle, C., Grasley, C., & Straatman, A. L. (2001). Development and validation of the conflict in adolescent dating relationships inventory. Psychological Assessment, 13(2), 277–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Criminological Research Institute of Lower SaxonyHanoverGermany

Personalised recommendations