Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 157–173 | Cite as

Assessing Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence

  • John F. KnutsonEmail author
  • Erika Lawrence
  • Sarah M. Taber
  • Lew Bank
  • David S. DeGarmo


Child exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is widely acknowledged as a threat to the psycho-social and academic well-being of children. Unfortunately, as reflected in the literature, the specific link between such exposure and childhood outcomes is ambiguous. Based on a review of the literature, this article suggests that this state of affairs is due, in part, to the manner with which exposure to IPV is operationally defined. After reviewing the dominant strategies for operationally defining exposure to IPV and the problems associated with those strategies, this article reports original data contrasting three measures derived from maternal reports, three measures derived from child reports, and the limited concordance among those different indices of exposure to IPV. The implications of these findings for research on child outcomes and the clinical assessment of children who might have been exposed to IPV are discussed.


Intimate partner violence Child exposure Child report Parent report 



This research was supported in part, by Grant RO1 MH 61731 funded by NIMH and ACYF (John F. Knutson, PI), and, in part, by Grant R01 HD-46789 funded by NICHD (John F. Knutson, PI), in part, by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grants R49 CCR721682 and R49 CE721682 and, in part, by Grant P30 DA 023920, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Branch, NIDA. The facilitation of the research accomplished by Barry Bennett, Cheryl Whitney, Marc Baty, Mark Schmidt, Trisha Barto, Mindy Norwood, and Wayne McCracken (Iowa Department of Human Services), Paul Spencer (Oneida County Department of Social Services), and the assistance of Ashley Anderson, Lisa Bauer, Robin Barry, Allyson Bone, Beth Boyer, Kristy DePalma, Aubra Hoffman, Esther Hoffman, Kathryn Holman, Kyla Kinnick, Gina Koeppl, Robert Latzman, Katie Meyer, Bethany Murphy, Amanda Murray, Laureen Ann Rapier, Eunyoe Ro, Nicole Shay, and Sarah Taber is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Knutson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erika Lawrence
    • 1
  • Sarah M. Taber
    • 1
  • Lew Bank
    • 2
  • David S. DeGarmo
    • 2
  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Social Learning CenterEugeneUSA

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