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Mothers’ Experience of Intimate Partner Violence and Subsequent Offspring Attachment Security Ages 1–5 Years: A Meta-Analysis

journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2021, 00:00 authored by Jennifer McintoshJennifer Mcintosh, Evelyn Tan, A A Levendosky, A Holtzworth-Munroe
Attachment status in early childhood is a key yet modifiable contributor to the development of social–emotional competence. The security and organization of the infant–mother attachment bond is particularly susceptible to stressors in the caregiving environment. While the impacts of normative interparental conflict on infant attachment are increasingly understood, the potentially unique place of intimate partner violence (IPV) in this pathway has been under-researched. This study surveyed all empirical work in this area, including unpublished literature ( k = 6, N = 3,394), to examine meta-analytic associations between maternal experiences of IPV and offspring attachment security (ages 1–5 years) measured at least 6 months post-IPV exposure. Mothers’ reports of IPV from pregnancy onward were inversely associated with offspring attachment security, r = −.23, CI [−0.42, −0.04], p = .02. Sample risk characteristics (e.g., clinical vs. community) moderated this association; child’s age at attachment measurement and method of assessing child attachment (e.g., observational, representational, parent report) also moderated at a trend level. Implications for early screening, intervention, and future research are discussed.

History

Journal

Trauma, Violence, and Abuse

Volume

22

Issue

4

Article number

ARTN 1524838019888560

Pagination

885 - 899

Publisher

SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC

Location

United States

ISSN

1524-8380

eISSN

1552-8324

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal