Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 165–173 | Cite as

Predicting child behavior problems in maritally violent families

  • Ernest N. Jouriles
  • Julian Barling
  • K. Daniel O'Leary


Previous research indicates that children from violent marriages are more likely to suffer from conduct problems and/or anxiety disorders than children from nonviolent, satisfactory marriages. However, knowledge regarding specific factors present in violent marriages relating to child problems is limited. The present study examined the relationships involving interspousal aggression, parent-child aggression, and child behavior problems in a sample of 45 children from maritally violent families. Mothers indicated how often their children witnessed interspousal aggression and were victims of parent-child aggression. Mothers also rated their children's problem behaviors while children reported on their own depressive symptoms. The witnessing of interspousal aggression was highly associated with parental aggression directed toward children. Parent-child aggression related to attention problems, anxiety-withdrawl, motor excess, and conduct problems in children. However, the witnessing of interspousal aggression was not significantly related to child behavior problems. These results are consistent with theoretical predictions linking marital problems to child behavior by virtue of their association with parenting.


Depressive Symptom Behavior Problem Anxiety Disorder Theoretical Prediction Child Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernest N. Jouriles
    • 1
  • Julian Barling
    • 2
  • K. Daniel O'Leary
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York at Stony BrookStony Brook
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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