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01-02-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2015 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2015

Interparental Violence: Similarities and Discrepancies Between Narratives of Mothers and Their Children

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2015
Auteurs:
Floor Barbera van Rooij, Winneke Aalken van der Schuur, Majone Steketee, Jodi Mak, Trees Pels

Abstract

Previous studies and intervention programs on interparental violence have relied largely on reports either solely from parents or solely from children. Nevertheless, the literature and the theoretical background provide indications of the existence of discrepancies between the narratives of parents and those of children. This study therefore focuses on similarities and differences between the narratives of mothers and those of their children with regard to the children’s exposure to interparental violence and its impact on child and parental functioning. In depth open interviews were conducted to assess the narratives of 36 mothers (27–59 years of age) and 43 of their children (17 boys and 26 girls; 9–25 years of age) who had experienced interparental violence in their past. A hierarchical coding system was used to code the interviews. Thereafter, the differences between mother and child narratives were analyzed based on the coded fragments. Few differences were found between the narratives with regard to parental functioning. We did find discrepancies, however, with regard to the children’s exposure to interparental violence and its impact on child functioning. Exploratory analyses showed relationships between the discrepancies and the severity of the violence and age of the children. More attention to these differences is essential in order to enhance our knowledge concerning the complex impact of violence on family members and to improve support geared to their specific needs.

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