Although interpartner violence increases child vulnerability to mental health problems, little is known about the unfolding mediating mechanisms and the potentiating and protective conditions that help shape the multiplicity of pathways underlying associations between domestic violence and child maladjustment, especially in early childhood. To address these gaps, our broad objective is to identify the pathways involved in the link between domestic violence and young children's adaptation within the framework of the emotional security theory.
Our specific aims i nclude: (1) examining whether direct exposure to the interpartner relationship and parenting difficulties mediate the link between interpartner violence and child maladjustment; (2) testing the hypothesis that the mediational role of parenting difficulties and exposure to destructive interpartner relations are further explained by child difficulties in preserving their emotional security in the interpartner and parent-child relationships; (3) charting the developmental interplay between child emotional security, resolution of stage-salient tasks, and mental health; and (4) delineating how family characteristics may alter paths between family processes, child emotional security, and child mental health. Two-hundred and fifty mothers, who have experienced a range of violence in relationships with their partners, and their 2-year-old children will participate in a three-wave longitudinal study, with measurement occasions spaced one year apart. To address earlier methodological limitations in the literature (e.g., monomethod bias; cross-sectional design; focus on a single domain of child functioning), we utilize a multi-method, prospective design that captures multiple levels of child adjustment (e.g., symptoms, competence, neuroendocrine functioning). Our three-wave project is designed to increase the power to test the temporal and conceptual ordering of our variables in mediator and moderator models and to facilitate the charting of the nature and correlates of individual differences in trajectories of child mental health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
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Boyce, Cheryl A
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University of Rochester
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Martin, Meredith J; Davies, Patrick T; Cummings, E Mark (2017) Distinguishing Attachment and Affiliation in Early Adolescents' Narrative Descriptions of Their Best Friendship. J Res Adolesc 27:644-660
Suor, Jennifer H; Sturge-Apple, Melissa L; Davies, Patrick T et al. (2017) A life history approach to delineating how harsh environments and hawk temperament traits differentially shape children's problem-solving skills. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 58:902-909
Davies, Patrick T; Martin, Meredith J; Sturge-Apple, Melissa L et al. (2016) The distinctive sequelae of children's coping with interparental conflict: Testing the reformulated emotional security theory. Dev Psychol 52:1646-1665
Sturge-Apple, Melissa L; Suor, Jennifer H; Davies, Patrick T et al. (2016) Vagal Tone and Children's Delay of Gratification: Differential Sensitivity in Resource-Poor and Resource-Rich Environments. Psychol Sci 27:885-93
Suor, Jennifer H; Sturge-Apple, Melissa L; Davies, Patrick T et al. (2015) Tracing Differential Pathways of Risk: Associations Among Family Adversity, Cortisol, and Cognitive Functioning in Childhood. Child Dev :
Davies, Patrick; Cicchetti, Dante; Hentges, Rochelle F (2015) Maternal unresponsiveness and child disruptive problems: the interplay of uninhibited temperament and dopamine transporter genes. Child Dev 86:63-79
Hentges, Rochelle F; Davies, Patrick T; Cicchetti, Dante (2015) Temperament and Interparental Conflict: The Role of Negative Emotionality in Predicting Child Behavioral Problems. Child Dev 86:1333-50
Davies, Patrick T; Cicchetti, Dante (2014) How and why does the 5-HTTLPR gene moderate associations between maternal unresponsiveness and children's disruptive problems? Child Dev 85:484-500
Sturge-Apple, Melissa L; Davies, Patrick T; Cicchetti, Dante et al. (2014) A typology of interpartner conflict and maternal parenting practices in high-risk families: examining spillover and compensatory models and implications for child adjustment. Dev Psychopathol 26:983-98
Manning, Liviah G; Davies, Patrick T; Cicchetti, Dante (2014) Interparental violence and childhood adjustment: how and why maternal sensitivity is a protective factor. Child Dev 85:2263-78

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