Testing the Spillover Effect of Intimate Partner Violence Victimization on Emotionally Abusive and Harsh Parenting Practices: The Application of Propensity Score Matching

Agata Debowska, Grzegorz Inglot, Rafal Piasek, Grzegorz Sokol, Beata Horeczy, George K. Hales, Daniel Boduszek

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Prior research reported a significant association between intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization and negative parenting, but there was an overreliance on U.S. samples and families from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. Therefore, this quasi-experimental study examined the association between recent IPV victimization and abusive parenting practices in a sample of community-based women from Poland. Participants were mothers of children aged 2 to 5 years (N = 610) attending an outpatient clinic located in a city in south-eastern Poland. Mothers were asked about their IPV experiences in the past 12 months and were classed as either IPV positive or IPV negative. Outcome measures assessed emotionally abusive and harsh parenting practices. All data were collected online. To reduce bias in background characteristics (i.e., age, education, employment status, financial distress, self-esteem, childhood violence history, alcohol problems, current mental distress, social support, exposure to COVID-19-pandemic-related stressors, and child sex), we applied the propensity score matching (PSM) technique. Group differences before and after matching were examined using independent samples t-tests. Prematching analyses revealed that IPV-positive mothers used significantly more emotionally abusive and harsh parenting practices than IPV-negative mothers. However, the two samples differed substantially on six background characteristics which are known risk factors for IPV and child maltreatment (financial distress, self-esteem, childhood violence history, current mental distress, social support, and exposure to COVID-19-pandemic-related stressors). PSM was successful in reducing those imbalances. Postmatching group comparisons were statistically nonsignificant for emotionally abusive and harsh parenting, disproving the spillover hypothesis. We conclude that IPV victimization is not related to emotionally abusive and harsh parenting practices when controlling for confounding variables.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Early online date22 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2024

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