Child Exposure to Family Violence (CEV)

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a complex and significant public health problem with adverse physical and mental health consequences not only for the adults involved but also for the children who are exposed to IPV. However, the impact of IPV exposure on children’s adjustment has shown substantial variability. Child Exposure to Family Violence (CEV) draws […]

Project Overview

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a complex and significant public health problem with adverse physical and mental health consequences not only for the adults involved but also for the children who are exposed to IPV. However, the impact of IPV exposure on children’s adjustment has shown substantial variability. Child Exposure to Family Violence (CEV) draws upon Dynamic Developmental Systems Theory to examine IPV dynamics and family/child risk and protective factors and processes that relate to children’s adjustment, including psychopathology, social competence, and academic achievement into adolescence. CEV advances the field in important regards. The inclusion of dyadic aggression data across multiple family contexts, over two generations, will help build theory and inform more tailored, timely interventions.

We are conducting a secondary analysis study using a prospective multi-generation data set involving children (N = 265, ~50% girls at age 5 years) of the Oregon Youth Study (OYS) men and the children’s biological mothers (even if the couple has separated) from the Three Generational Study (3GS). At enrollment into the OYS in Grade 4, the men were at risk for aggression (by virtue of living in neighborhoods with relatively high rates of juvenile delinquency) and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The available 3GS data set includes two generations with childhood data on each (i.e., developmental history of the OYS fathers and their offspring), and includes five waves of IPV and six waves of child adjustment data for the offspring over a 12-year period using a multi-agent/method measurement strategy. We will first examine (1) moderation of early childhood proximal associations between exposure to violence (IPV and parent aggression) and child adjustment by child and parent gender. Next, we will capitalize on the prospective, longitudinal design to examine (2) how the developmental timing of violence exposure may affect changes in offspring adjustment across adolescence; (3) risk and protective factors (e.g., effortful control, parent monitoring) that may mediate associations between violence exposure in childhood and adolescence adjustment; (4) intergenerational transmission of IPV (and parent aggression) and the circumstances whereby parents’ developmental risk factors (e.g., exposure to IPV during childhood) increase the occurrence of IPV (and parent aggression) in adulthood and the risk of child adjustment difficulties.

Year Project Began: 2016
Funder: National Institute of Justice

Principal Investigator

Joann Wu Shortt, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Shortt received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington. She researches how relationships and emotions shape our development across the life span. Her research has public health significance and the potential to decrease the impact of risk factors on the lives of young people and their families. She utilizes observational and physiological methodology to understand interactional processes at work in predicting child/adolescent/adult adjustment and relationship outcomes including intimate partner violence. She also has expertise in longitudinal design, developing measures and interventions, and multivariate analysis.