Children in Families With Intimate Partner Violence: Developmental Trajectories and Longitudinal Mediation Effects of Behavioral Self-regulation for Risky Behaviors in Adolescence

Date of Award

Summer 8-27-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Development and Family Science


Razza, Rachel A.


adolescent risky behaviors, behavioral self-regulation, Intimate partner violence, risky substance use, risky sexual behaviors, interparental violence exposure

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychology | Public Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The goal of this study was to develop an integrated model to understand the associations among early exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV), children's development of self-regulation, and adolescent risk behaviors. This study used advanced latent growth modeling to comprehensively investigate the negative influence of IPV exposure at ages 1, 3, and 5 on adolescent behaviors at age 15 resulting from potential delayed growth of self-regulation during childhood. The sample included 3,749 children from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Results suggest that children exposed to IPV directed against mothers from age 1 to 3 showed lower initial levels of self-regulation, which in turn was associated with a higher level of risky sexual and substance use behavior in adolescence. Intraindividual differences indicated that early exposure at age 1 had significant negative influences on the levels of behavioral self-regulation at age 3 that was above and beyond one's developmental trajectories of behavioral self-regulation; however, the continued negative influences of IPV exposure at ages 3 and 5 on the level of behavioral self-regulation at ages 5 and 9 were not significant. Findings from this study provide empirical evidence that documents the timing of IPV exposure and consequent changes in the trajectory of self-regulation. This study raises awareness of the harm of IPV exposure on children's early self-regulation and could be useful to child protective agencies and schools in designing prevention and intervention programs that target the enhancement of self-regulation for children who are living in families with violence.


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