Option Two, What Happens:
You develop researchable questions: How does trauma affect parenting? How does trauma affect children? What are effective interventions for women who have experienced intimate partner violence? What are effective interventions for children who are displaying signs of attachment issues?
Research on child exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) reveals the child may be at risk of developing a host of negative long term behavioural and emotional difficulties, including: emotional dysregulation, 1, 2, 3 internalizing and externalizing symptoms, 1, 4, 5, 6 and major depression. 3
However, a second research camp has developed an alternative hypothesis, explaining that some women affected by IPV may heighten attentional focus within the parent-child relationship in order to compensate for the chaotic environment and ‘make up’ for the abusive parent, thereby achieving parental consistency despite the trauma. 7 Importantly, the outcomes for children after IPV are highly dependent on parenting practice - a key factor in determining long term outcomes. 1, 4
- Eherensaft, M. K., Knous-Westfall, H., & Cohen, P. (2016). Long-term Influence of intimate partner violence and parenting practices on offspring trauma symptoms. Psychology of Violence.
- Tailor, K., Stewart-Tufescu, A., & Piotrowski, C. (2015). Children exposed to intimate partner violence: Influences of parenting, family distress, and siblings. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(1), 29-38.
- Zvara, B. J., Meltzer-Brody, S., Mills-Koonce, W. R., & Cox, M. (2016). Maternal childhood sexual trauma and early parenting: Prenatal and postnatal associations. Infant and Child Development.
- Gewirtz, A. H., DeGarmo, D. S., & Medhanie, A. (2011). Effects of mother’s parenting practices on child internalizing trajectories following partner violence. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(1), 29-38.
- Whitson, M. L., Bernard, S. & Kaufman, J. S. (2015). The mediating role of parenting stress for children exposed to trauma: Results from a school-based system of care. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 1141-1151.
- Zvara, B. J., Mills-Koonce, W. R., Carmody, K. A., & Cox, M. (2017). Maternal childhood sexual trauma and child conduct problems. Journal of Family Violence, 32, 231-242.
- Levendosky, A. A. & Graham-Bermann, S. A. (2000). Trauma and parenting in battered women: An addition to an ecological model of parenting. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 3(1), 25-35.