The impact of intimate partner violence on preschool children’s peer problems: An analysis of risk and protective factors.


It is unclear whether there is variation in the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on child peer problems, and which individual and environmental factors might predict such variation. This study uses data from 7,712 children (3,974, 51.5% boys) aged 4 from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Children were cross-categorized based on exposure to IPV from birth to 3 years, and mother-rated peer problems at age 4, into 4 groups: Resilient, Non-resilient, Vulnerable and Competent. Between-group differences in maternal depression, maternal life events, parenting, attachment, and temperament were analyzed, and these variables were also examined as predictors of group membership. Girls were more likely to be identified as resilient. In contrast to the non-resilient group, resilient boys were less emotional, had more secure attachment to their mothers, more interaction with their mothers’ partner, and their mothers reported fewer life events. For girls, the resilient group was less emotional, more sociable, and their mothers reported less depression. Temperament played a stronger role in resilience for girls than boys. There are sex differences in predictors of resilience to IPV within the peer problems outcome domain, which suggests that different approaches to intervention may be needed to foster resilience in boys and girls exposed to IPV.