Emotional-behavioral resilience and competence in preschool children exposed and not exposed to intimate partner violence in early life

Alison Fogarty, Rebecca Giallo, Catherine Wood, Jordy Kaufman, Stephanie Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) during childhood is a risk factor for poor emotional-behavioral functioning. Despite this, many children show resilience in the face of IPV exposure. The current study aimed to identify characteristics associated with positive emotional-behavioral outcomes in 4-year-old children exposed to IPV in early life. Data were drawn from the Maternal Health Study (MHS), a prospective study of women during pregnancy and following the birth of their first child. Women were recruited from six Melbourne public hospitals between 2003 and 2005. Mother–child dyads (n = 1060) were included in the study using data collected during pregnancy; 12 months postpartum; and four years postpartum. Of the children exposed to IPV in early life, 38% displayed emotional-behavioral resilience at four years. Maternal physical wellbeing, mothers’ return to work or study and no exposure to IPV at four years were associated with child resilience. These results highlighted the importance of prioritizing mothers’ physical wellbeing and access to employment in promoting positive outcomes for their children. The results also reinforced the significant role of early intervention; when exposure to IPV stops at an early age, children are more likely to experience emotional-behavioral resilience.

Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Resilience
  • children
  • emotional-behavioral functioning
  • intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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