Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 137–152 | Cite as

Patterns of Adjustment among Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence: a Person-Centered Approach

  • Shelby Elaine McDonald
  • Sandra A. Graham-Bermann
  • Anna Maternick
  • Frank R. Ascione
  • James Herbert Williams
Original Article


This study examined profiles of adjustment in an ethnically diverse sample of 291 school-age children recruited from community-based domestic violence services. Using latent profile analysis (LPA), six domains of adjustment were examined: social problems, attention problems, internalizing behavior, externalizing behavior, empathy, and callous/unemotional traits. Results of the LPA provided support for three distinct profiles of socioemotional functioning among children in the sample: Resilient (66 %; n = 191), Struggling (28 %; n = 83), and Severe Maladjustment (6 %; n = 17). Variables that distinguished between the profiles included: children’s race/ethnicity, exposure to concomitant animal cruelty, relationship to the abusive partner, and the duration of their maternal caregiver’s experience of IPV. Study results lend support to previous research suggesting differential patterns of socioemotional adjustment among children exposed to IPV.


Domestic violence Resilience Adjustment Animal cruelty CU traits 



This research was funded by Grant 5R01-HD-66503-4 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and Grant 2015-0709 from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or ASPCA. This paper was presented in part at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in October 2015 in Denver, CO. The authors would like to thank the community-based domestic violence advocates for their contribution to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelby Elaine McDonald
    • 1
  • Sandra A. Graham-Bermann
    • 2
  • Anna Maternick
    • 1
  • Frank R. Ascione
    • 3
  • James Herbert Williams
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Social WorkVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Graduate School of Social WorkUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

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