Post-traumatic stress symptoms in siblings exposed to intimate partner violence: the role of mother-child relationships
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It is well documented that exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) negatively affects children’s developmental outcomes (Chan & Yeung, 2009; Evans, Davies & DiLillo, 2008) and may lead to the expression of symptomatology consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Graham-Bermann, De Voe, Mattis, Lynch & Thomas, 2006; Kilpatrick & Williams,1998). Currently there is no consensus as to the nature of the influence of mother-child relationships on child outcomes such as post-traumatic stress symptoms in IPV-exposed families. The present study examined the role of maternal influences, such as the quality of mother-child interaction, maternal depression, and maternal violence history on sibling trauma outcomes. Results indicated that increased maternal depressive symptoms, maternal violence history, and negative mother-child interactions did not significantly predict post-traumatic stress symptoms in siblings exposed to IPV. Findings provided support for the notion of maternal compensatory strategies used to protect siblings from the detrimental consequences of IPV exposure.