Intimate partner violence: The relationship of the perpetrator to the child who witnessed violence
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There is ample research concerning the ways that witnessing domestic violence affects children, but fewer studies investigate how children's relationship to the perpetrator influences their overall functioning. This research investigates the hypothesis that violence perpetrated by children's biological fathers will result in higher levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and behavior problems than will violence perpetrated by a non-biological father. It also examines whether children who witness repeated intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrated by both their biological father and a successive father figure will have the highest levels of PTSD and behavioral symptoms. Eighty mothers who experienced a domestic incident reported on the symptoms and behavior of their children aged 2-18 using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the UCLA Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Rating Index-Parent Report Version (PSTD-RI). The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) was utilized to assess mothers' overall levels of psychological functioning. A MANCOVA demonstrated that children who had multiple violent father figures had significantly more symptoms on the CBCL than children in the other two research groups, even after controlling for the child's age and the severity of the mother's symptoms. There were no significant differences between the biological and non-biological father groups, or among the three groups on the PTSD-RI.