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1.  Children's Exposure to Violence and Distress Symptoms: Influence of Caretakers' Psychological Functioning 
Background
Previous studies linking violence exposure to adverse child behavior have typically relied on parental report of child symptoms without accounting for the informant's mental well-being, despite evidence that parental-mental health can influence children's mental health and the parent's report of distress symptoms.
Purpose
We assess the influence of maternal depression on the violence exposure and child distress association in a subset of the Maternal Infant Smoking Study of East Boston, a prospective birth cohort.
Methods
Mothers reported on their children's violence exposure using the Survey of Children's Exposure to Community Violence (ETV) and completed the Checklist of Child Distress Symptoms (CCDS). The children also completed the ETV survey and the self-report version of the CCDS. Linear regression was used to assess the influence of violence exposure on distress symptoms adjusting for potential confounders, first using parent's report of exposure and outcome and a second time using the child's self-report. The mediating effect of maternal depression on the violence and distress association was also tested.
Results
Among the 162 children ages 7 to 11, 51% were boys and 43% self-identified as Hispanic. When using child self-report, increased violence exposure was significantly associated with a broader range of distress symptoms (numbness, arousal, intrusion, avoidance subscales) compared to parent reported findings, which were only significantly related to the intrusion and avoidance subscales. Moreover, a significant mediation effect of maternal depression on the violence and distress association was noted only when mother's report of exposure and outcome was used.
Conclusion
Considering both parent and child self-report of violence is necessary to obtain a complete picture of violence exposure because parents and children may be offering different, although equally valid information. The influence of maternal depressive symptoms on preadolescent's distress symptoms may be attributed to reporting bias as opposed to more direct effects; thus, the parent's psychological functioning should be taken into consideration when relying on parental report of the child's psychological functioning.
doi:10.1007/s12529-010-9090-0
PMCID: PMC2916934  PMID: 20405263
Child distress; Violence; Maternal depression
2.  Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Attempts: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001439.
Karen Devries and colleagues conduct a systematic review of longitudinal studies to evaluate the direction of association between symptoms of depression and intimate partner violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial burden of disease globally. Evidence suggests that intimate partner violence (IPV) experience is associated with increased risk of depression, but also that people with mental disorders are at increased risk of violence. We aimed to investigate the extent to which IPV experience is associated with incident depression and suicide attempts, and vice versa, in both women and men.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies published before February 1, 2013. More than 22,000 records from 20 databases were searched for studies examining physical and/or sexual intimate partner or dating violence and symptoms of depression, diagnosed major depressive disorder, dysthymia, mild depression, or suicide attempts. Random effects meta-analyses were used to generate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Sixteen studies with 36,163 participants met our inclusion criteria. All studies included female participants; four studies also included male participants. Few controlled for key potential confounders other than demographics. All but one depression study measured only depressive symptoms. For women, there was clear evidence of an association between IPV and incident depressive symptoms, with 12 of 13 studies showing a positive direction of association and 11 reaching statistical significance; pooled OR from six studies = 1.97 (95% CI 1.56–2.48, I2 = 50.4%, pheterogeneity = 0.073). There was also evidence of an association in the reverse direction between depressive symptoms and incident IPV (pooled OR from four studies = 1.93, 95% CI 1.51–2.48, I2 = 0%, p = 0.481). IPV was also associated with incident suicide attempts. For men, evidence suggested that IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, but there was no clear evidence of an association between IPV and suicide attempts or depression and incident IPV.
Conclusions
In women, IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms with incident IPV. IPV was associated with incident suicide attempts. In men, few studies were conducted, but evidence suggested IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms. There was no clear evidence of association with suicide attempts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial proportion of the global disease burden. Depression—an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can last for months or years—affects more than 350 million people worldwide. It is the eleventh leading cause of global disability-adjusted life-years (a measure of overall disease burden), and it affects one in six people at some time during their lives. Globally, about a million people commit suicide every year, usually because they have depression or some other mental illness. Notably, in cross-sectional studies (investigations that look at a population at a single time point), experience of intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is strongly and consistently associated with both depressive disorders and suicide. IPV, like depression and suicide, is extremely common—in multi-country studies, 15%–71% of women report being physically assaulted at some time during their lifetime. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse; men as well as women can be the victims of IPV.
Why Was This Study Done?
It may seem obvious to assume that IPV is causally related to subsequent depression and suicidal behavior. However, cross-sectional studies provide no information about causality, and it is possible that depression and/or suicide attempts cause subsequent IPV or that there are common risk factors for IPV, depression, and suicide. For example, individuals with depressive symptoms may be more accepting of partners with characteristics that predispose them to use violence, or early life exposure to violence may predispose individuals to both depression and choosing violent partners. Here, as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, the researchers investigate the extent to which experience of IPV is associated with subsequent depression and suicide attempts and vice versa in both men and women by undertaking a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies that have examined IPV, depression, and suicide attempts. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, meta-analysis combines the results of several studies, and longitudinal studies track people over time to investigate associations between specific characteristics and outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 16 longitudinal studies involving a total of 36,163 participants that met their inclusion criteria. All the studies included women, but only four also included men. All the studies were undertaken in high- and middle-income countries. For women, 11 studies showed a statistically significant association (an association unlikely to have occurred by chance) between IPV and subsequent depressive symptoms. In a meta-analysis of six studies, experience of IPV nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently reporting depressive symptoms. In addition, there was evidence of an association in the reverse direction. In a meta-analysis of four studies, depressive symptoms nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently experiencing IPV. IPV was also associated with subsequent suicide attempts among women. For men, there was some evidence from two studies that IPV was associated with depressive symptoms but no evidence for an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt or between depressive symptoms and subsequent IPV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that women who are exposed to IPV are at increased risk of subsequent depression and that women who are depressed are more likely to be at risk of IPV. They also provide evidence of an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt for women. The study provides little evidence for similar relationships among men, but additional studies are needed to confirm this finding. Moreover, the accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by several limitations of the study. For example, few of the included studies controlled for other factors that might have affected both exposure to IPV and depressive symptoms, and none of the studies considered the effect of emotional violence on depressive symptoms and suicide attempts. Nevertheless, these findings have two important implications. First, they suggest that preventing violence against women has the potential to reduce the global burden of disease related to depression and suicide. Second, they suggest that clinicians should pay attention to past experiences of violence and the risk of future violence when treating women who present with symptoms of depression.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001439.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Alexander Tsai
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression and of suicide and suicide prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about depression, including personal stories about depression, and information on suicide and its prevention; it has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The World Health Organization provides information on depression, on the global burden of suicide and on suicide prevention, and on intimate partner violence (some information in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression, suicide, and domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories about depression and about dealing with suicide
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001439
PMCID: PMC3646718  PMID: 23671407
3.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Termination of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001581.
Lucy Chappell and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta analysis to investigate a possible association between intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and termination of pregnancy (TOP) are global health concerns, but their interaction is undetermined. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an association between IPV and TOP.
Methods and Findings
A systematic review based on a search of Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Ovid Maternity and Infant Care from each database's inception to 21 September 2013 for peer-reviewed articles of any design and language found 74 studies regarding women who had undergone TOP and had experienced at least one domain (physical, sexual, or emotional) of IPV. Prevalence of IPV and association between IPV and TOP were meta-analysed. Sample sizes ranged from eight to 33,385 participants. Worldwide, rates of IPV in the preceding year in women undergoing TOP ranged from 2.5% to 30%. Lifetime prevalence by meta-analysis was shown to be 24.9% (95% CI 19.9% to 30.6%); heterogeneity was high (I2>90%), and variation was not explained by study design, quality, or size, or country gross national income per capita. IPV, including history of rape, sexual assault, contraceptive sabotage, and coerced decision-making, was associated with TOP, and with repeat TOPs. By meta-analysis, partner not knowing about the TOP was shown to be significantly associated with IPV (pooled odds ratio 2.97, 95% CI 2.39 to 3.69). Women in violent relationships were more likely to have concealed the TOP from their partner than those who were not. Demographic factors including age, ethnicity, education, marital status, income, employment, and drug and alcohol use showed no strong or consistent mediating effect. Few long-term outcomes were studied. Women welcomed the opportunity to disclose IPV and be offered help. Limitations include study heterogeneity, potential underreporting of both IPV and TOP in primary data sources, and inherent difficulties in validation.
Conclusions
IPV is associated with TOP. Novel public health approaches are required to prevent IPV. TOP services provide an opportune health-based setting to design and test interventions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (sometimes referred to as domestic violence) is one of the commonest forms of violence against women and is a global health problem. The World Health Organization defines intimate partner violence as any act of physical, psychological, or sexual aggression or any controlling behavior (for example, restriction of access to assistance) perpetrated by the woman's current or past intimate partner. Although men also experience it, intimate partner violence is overwhelmingly experienced by women, particularly when repeated or severe. Studies indicate that the prevalence (the percentage of a population affected by a condition) of intimate partner violence varies widely within and between countries: the prevalence of intimate partner violence among women ranges from 15% in Japan to 71% in Ethiopia, and the lifetime prevalence of rape (forced sex) within intimate relationships ranges from 5.9% to 42% across the world, for example. Overall, a third of women experience intimate partner violence at some time during their lifetimes. The health consequences of such violence include physical injury, depression, suicidal behavior, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Why Was This Study Done?
Intimate partner violence can also lead to gynecological disorders (conditions affecting the female reproductive organs), unwanted pregnancy, premature labour and birth, and sexually transmitted infections. Because violence may begin or intensify during pregnancy, some countries recommend routine questioning about intimate partner violence during antenatal care. However, women seeking termination of pregnancy (induced abortion) are not routinely asked about intimate partner violence. Every year, many women worldwide terminate a pregnancy. Nearly half of these terminations are unsafe, and complications arising from unsafe abortions are responsible for more than 10% of maternal deaths (deaths from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications). It is important to know whether intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy are associated in order to develop effective strategies to deal with both these global health concerns. Here, the researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the associations between intimate partner violence and termination or pregnancy. A systematic review identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria; meta-analysis combines the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 74 studies that provided information about experiences of intimate partner violence among women who had had a termination of pregnancy. Data in these studies indicated that, worldwide, intimate partner violence rates among women undergoing termination ranged from 2.5% to 30% in the preceding year and from 14% to 40% over their lifetime. In the meta-analysis, the lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence was 24.9% among termination-seeking populations. The identified studies provided evidence that intimate partner violence was associated with termination and with repeat termination. In one study, for example, women presenting for a third termination were more than two and a half times more likely to have a history of physical or sexual violence than women presenting for their first termination. Moreover, according to the meta-analysis, women in violent relationships were three times as likely to conceal a termination from their partner as women in non-violent relationships. Finally, the studies indicated that women undergoing terminations of pregnancy welcomed the opportunity to disclose their experiences of intimate partner violence and to be offered help.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that intimate partner violence is associated with termination of pregnancy and that a woman's partner not knowing about the termination is a risk factor for intimate partner violence among women seeking termination. Overall, the researchers' findings support the concept that violence can lead to pregnancy and to subsequent termination of pregnancy, and that there may be a repetitive cycle of abuse and pregnancy. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) among the included studies, by the likelihood of underreporting of both intimate partner violence and termination in the included studies, and by lack of validation of reports of violence through, for example, police reports. Nevertheless, health-care professionals should consider the possibility that women seeking termination of pregnancy may be experiencing intimate partner violence. In trying to prevent repeat terminations, health-care professionals should be aware that while focusing on preventing conception may reduce the chances of a woman becoming pregnant, she may still be vulnerable to abuse. Finally, given the clear associations between intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy, the researchers suggest that termination services represent an appropriate setting in which to test interventions designed to reduce intimate partner violence.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001581.
The World Health organization provides detailed information about intimate partner violence and about termination of pregnancy (some information available in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about intimate partner violence and about termination of pregnancy (in English and Spanish)
The World Bank has a webpage that discusses the role of the health sector in preventing gender-based violence and a webpage with links to other resources about gender-based violence
The Gender and Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council provides links to further resources about intimate partner violence (research briefs/policy briefs/fact sheets/research reports)
DIVERHSE (Domestic & Interpersonal Violence: Effecting Responses in the Health Sector in Europe) is a European forum for health professionals, nongovernmental organizations, policy-makers, and academics to share their expertise and good practice in developing and evaluating interventions to address violence against women and children in a variety of health-care settings
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Gender Violence and Health Centre also has a number of research resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides personal stories of intimate partner violence during pregnancy
The March of Dimes provides information on identifying intimate partner violence during pregnancy and making a safety plan
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001581
PMCID: PMC3883805  PMID: 24409101
4.  Maternal Depression, Child Behavior, and Injury 
Background
Little data exists on the effect of maternal depression on child injury outcomes and mediators of this relationship.
Objective
Examine the relationship between mothers' depressive symptoms and medically attended injuries in their children and the potential mediating role of child behavior.
Design/Methods
A cohort of mother-child dyads from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth followed from 1992 to1994. The primary exposure variable was maternal depressive symptoms as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression Scale in 1992. Child behavior was assessed by the Behavior Problems Index externalizing subscale. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between depressive symptoms, child behavior, and injury reported in the year prior in 1994.
Results
94 medically attended injuries were reported in the 1106 children (8.5%); two-thirds sustained in the home environment. Maternal depressive symptoms significantly increased the risk of child injury; with injury risk increasing 4 percent for every 1-point increase in depressive symptoms (adjusted OR of 1.04, 95% CI 1.01, 1.08, p=0.02). Increasing maternal depressive symptoms also increased the risk of externalizing behavior problems (adjusted OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03, 1.09), but externalizing behavior problems did not significantly mediate the relationship between maternal symptoms and child injury.
Conclusions
Increasing depressive symptoms in mothers was associated with an increased risk for child injury. Child behavior did not significantly mediate the association between maternal depressive symptoms and child injury in this cohort. Greater recognition, referral, and treatment of depressive symptoms in mothers may have effects on child behavior and injury risk.
doi:10.1136/ip.2006.014571
PMCID: PMC2598291  PMID: 18056318
maternal depression; depressive symptoms; residential; behavior; injuries
5.  Childhood Bullying Involvement and Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence 
Pediatrics  2006;118(2):e235-e242.
OBJECTIVE
Our objectives with this study were to describe the prevalence of bullying involvement (ie, bullying and victimization) among children from a multigenerational study and to examine the relationship of these childhood behaviors and exposure to intimate partner violence.
METHODS
A community-based cohort of 112 children (aged 6 to 13 years) was asked to self-report on physical, verbal, and relational types of bullying and victimization experienced in the past year. Parents reported on their child’s externalizing and internalizing behaviors during the previous 6 months using items from Achenbach’s Child Behavior Checklist. The frequency of parental experiences of intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization at 2 time points during the preceding 5 years was measured using Conflict Tactics Scale items. The association of intimate partner violence and parent-reported child behavioral problems was examined, followed by exposure to intimate partner violence and child-reported bullying or victimization. Parental risk factors (eg, race/ethnicity, education, problem drinking) that predispose to intimate partner violence were controlled for using propensity score statistical modeling.
RESULTS
Eighty-two (73.2%) children reported being victimized by peers, and 38 (33.9%) children reported bullying behaviors in the past year. More reports came from girls than from boys (55% for victimization and 61% for bullying). Almost all (97%) child bullies were also victims themselves. Intimate partner violence was reported by parent respondents in 53 (50.5%) households at any or both of the 2 time points. Exposure to intimate partner violence was not associated with child-reported relational bullying behaviors or victimization by peers, However, intimate partner violence–exposed children were at increased risk for problematic levels of externalizing behavior/physical aggression and internalizing behaviors.
CONCLUSIONS
In our sample, children who were 6 to 13 years of age reported a substantial amount of bullying and victimization; a large majority were bully-victims and female. Regression analyses did not show that children who were exposed to intimate partner violence were more likely to engage in relational bullying. However, children who are exposed to intimate partner violence have a higher likelihood of internalizing behaviors and physical aggression.
doi:10.1542/peds.2005-2509
PMCID: PMC2270412  PMID: 16882768
bullying; intimate partner violence; behavior disorders/problems
6.  Transgenerational consequences of PTSD: risk factors for the mental health of children whose mothers have been exposed to the Rwandan genocide 
Background
Understanding how parental Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may or may not affect the development and mental health in the offspring is particularly important in conflict regions, where trauma-related illness is endemic. In Rwanda, organised atrocities and the genocide against the Tutsi of 1994 have left a significant fraction of the population with chronic PTSD. The aim of the present investigation was to establish whether PTSD in mothers is associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and aggressive and antisocial behaviour in their children.
Methods
A community sample of 125 Rwandan mothers who experienced the genocide of 1994 and their 12-year-old children were interviewed. Using a structured interview, symptoms of maternal PTSD and children’s depression, anxiety, and aggressive and antisocial behaviour were assessed by trained and on-site supervised local B.A. psychologists. The interview also included a detailed checklist of event types related to family violence.
Results
In showing that a maternal PTSD was not associated with child’s psychopathology, the results contradict the assumption of straight “trans-generational trauma transmission”. Instead, a child’s exposure to maternal family violence posed a significant risk factor for a negative mental health outcome. Furthermore, it was not maternal PTSD-symptoms but mother’s exposure to family violence during her own childhood that was associated with the magnitude of adversities that a child experiences at home.
Conclusions
Contrary to a simple model of a trans-generational transmission of trauma, neither maternal PTSD nor maternal traumatic experiences were directly associated with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or antisocial and aggressive behaviour in the children. Instead, the present results suggest a relationship between parental child rearing practices and children’s mental health. Furthermore, the study details the “cycle of violence”, showing a significant link between maternal violence against a child and its mother’s experience of childhood maltreatment.
doi:10.1186/1752-4458-8-12
PMCID: PMC3978019  PMID: 24690436
7.  Prevalence of domestic violence during pregnancy and related risk factors: a cross-sectional study in southern Sweden 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:63.
Background
Domestic violence during pregnancy is a serious public health issue which threatens maternal and foetal health outcomes. The aim of the study was to explore prevalence of domestic violence among pregnant women in southern Sweden (Scania) and to explore associations with background factors, as symptoms of depression and sense of coherence.
Methods
This study has a cross-sectional design and is the first part of a longitudinal, cohort study. Inclusion criteria were women ≥ 18 years, registered at antenatal care when pregnant and who understand and write Swedish or English. Questionnaires were collected prospectively at seventeen antenatal care receptions situated in the two cities and six smaller municipalities in Scania. Statistical analyses were done using descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, bivariate logistic regression and multiple regression with Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
Results
Study sample included 1939 women. History of violence was reported by 39.5% (n =761) women. Significant differences were obtained between the groups with or without history of violence regarding being single/living apart, unemployment, financial distress, smoking/snuffing, unintended pregnancy as well as history of miscarriage/legalised abortion (p < 0.001). Experience of domestic violence during pregnancy regardless of type or level of abuse was 1.0% (n = 18); history of physical abuse by actual intimate partner was 2.2% (n = 42). History of violence was the strongest risk factor associated with domestic violence during pregnancy, where all women (n = 18) exposed reported history of violence (p < 0.001). Several symptoms of depression (adjusted for low socio-economic status, miscarriage/abortion, single/living apart, lack of sleep, unemployment, age and parity) were associated with a 7.0 fold risk of domestic violence during pregnancy (OR 7.0; 95% CI: 1.9-26.3).
Conclusions
The reported prevalence of domestic violence during pregnancy in southwest Sweden is low. However, a considerable proportion of women reported history of living in a violent relationship. Both history of violence and the presence of several depressive symptoms detected in early pregnancy may indicate that the woman also is exposed to domestic violence during pregnancy. Increased attention to this vulnerable group of women is needed to improve maternal and child health.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-63
PMCID: PMC4030020  PMID: 24885532
Domestic violence; Pregnancy; Prevalence; Risk factors; Depression
8.  Mother’s environmental tobacco smoke exposure during pregnancy and externalizing behavior problems in children 
Neurotoxicology  2012;34:167-174.
Background
While the impact of active maternal smoking during pregnancy on child health has been well investigated, the association between maternal passive smoking, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or second-hand smoke, and behavioral development of offspring is less clear. This study examines the association between maternal ETS exposure during pregnancy and child behavior problems.
Methods
Cross-sectional data of 646 mother–child pairs from the Jintan China Cohort Study were used in the analyses. Mother’s exposure to tobacco smoking at home, the workplace, and other places during pregnancy (for the determination of maternal ETS exposure) and children’s behaviors (via Child Behavior Checklist) were assessed when the children were 5–6 years old. Logistic regression models were constructed to examine associations between maternal exposure to ETS during pregnancy and internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, adjusting for potential cofounders including child sex and parental characteristics.
Results
37% of mothers reported ETS during pregnancy. Children of mothers exposed to ETS during pregnancy had higher scores for externalizing and total behavior problems, with 25% of children whose mothers were exposed to ETS compared to 16% of children of unexposed mothers. After adjusting for potential confounders, ETS exposure was associated with a higher risk of externalizing behavior problems in offspring of exposed mothers (OR = 2.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.27–3.43). Analysis after multiple imputations and sensitivity analysis further verified the association, but no dose–response relationship was found. ETS exposure, however, was not associated with internalizing or total behavior problems.
Conclusion
This study suggests that maternal ETS exposure during pregnancy may impact child behavioral development, particularly externalizing behaviors.
doi:10.1016/j.neuro.2012.11.005
PMCID: PMC3587028  PMID: 23178460
Environmental tobacco exposure; Second-hand smoke; Child behavior problem; Externalizing behavior; Pregnancy exposure
9.  The relationship between organized violence, family violence and mental health: findings from a community-based survey in Muhanga, Southern Rwanda 
European Journal of Psychotraumatology  2013;4:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.21329.
Background
The relationship between organized violence and family violence, and their cumulative effect on mental health in post-conflict regions remains poorly understood.
Objective
The aim of the present study was to establish prevalence rates and predictors of family violence in post-conflict Rwanda. And to examine whether higher levels of war-related violence and its socio-economic consequences would result in higher levels of violence within families and whether this would be related to an increase of psychological distress in descendants.
Method
One hundred and eighty-eight parent–child pairs from four sectors of the district Muhanga, Southern Province of Rwanda, were randomly selected for participation in the study. Trained local psychologists administered structured diagnostic interviews. A posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis was established using the PTSD Symptom Scale Interview (PSS-I) and child maltreatment was assessed by means of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Additionally, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL-25) assessed symptoms of depression and anxiety in descendants.
Results
Prevalence rates of child abuse and neglect among descendants were below 10%. Ordinal regression analyses revealed that the level of child maltreatment in descendants was predicted by female sex, poverty, loss of the mother, exposure to war and genocide as well as parents’ level of PTSD and reported child maltreatment. Poor physical health, exposure to war and genocide, parental PTSD symptoms, and reported childhood trauma were significantly associated with depressive and anxious symptoms, while only exposure to war and genocide and poor physical health predicted the level of PTSD.
Conclusion
The results indicate that cumulative stress such as exposure to organized violence and family violence in Rwandan descendants poses a risk factor for the development of depressive and anxious symptoms. Besides the support for families to cope with stress, awareness-raising initiatives challenging the current discourse of discipline toward children in schools or at home need to be fostered.
doi:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.21329
PMCID: PMC3828565  PMID: 24244834
Child maltreatment; psychopathology; genocide; descendants; Rwanda; intergenerational; cycle of violence
10.  Prenatal Exposure to Bereavement and Type-2 Diabetes: A Danish Longitudinal Population Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43508.
Background
The etiology of type-2 diabetes is only partly known, and a possible role of prenatal stress in programming offspring for insulin resistance has been suggested by animal models. Previously, we found an association between prenatal stress and type-1 diabetes. Here we examine the association between prenatal exposure to maternal bereavement during preconception and pregnancy and development of type-2 diabetes in the off-spring.
Methods
We utilized data from the Danish Civil Registration System to identify singleton births in Denmark born January 1st 1979 through December 31st 2008 (N = 1,878,246), and linked them to their parents, grandparents, and siblings. We categorized children as exposed to bereavement during prenatal life if their mothers lost an elder child, husband or parent during the period from one year before conception to the child’s birth. We identified 45,302 children exposed to maternal bereavement; the remaining children were included in the unexposed cohort. The outcome of interest was diagnosis of type-2 diabetes. We estimated incidence rate ratios (IRRs) from birth using log-linear poisson regression models and used person-years as the offset variable. All models were adjusted for maternal residence, income, education, marital status, sibling order, calendar year, sex, and parents’ history of diabetes at the time of pregnancy.
Results
We found children exposed to bereavement during their prenatal life were more likely to have a type-2 diabetes diagnosis later in life (aIRR: 1.31, 1.01–1.69). These findings were most pronounced when bereavement was caused by death of an elder child (aIRR: 1.51, 0.94–2.44). Results also indicated the second trimester of pregnancy to be the most sensitive period of bereavement exposure (aIRR:2.08, 1.15–3.76).
Conclusions
Our data suggests that fetal exposure to maternal bereavement during preconception and the prenatal period may increase the risk for developing type-2 diabetes in childhood and young adulthood.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043508
PMCID: PMC3429491  PMID: 22952698
11.  Influence of psychosocial risk factors on the trajectory of mental health problems from childhood to adolescence: a longitudinal study 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:31.
Background
Longitudinal epidemiological studies involving child/adolescent mental health problems are scarce in developing countries, particularly in regions characterized by adverse living conditions. We examined the influence of psychosocial factors on the trajectory of child/adolescent mental health problems (CAMHP) over time.
Methods
A population-based sample of 6- to 13-year-olds with CAMHP was followed-up from 2002–2003 (Time 1/T1) to 2007–2008 (Time 2/T2), with 86 out of 124 eligible children/adolescents at T1 being reassessed at T2 (sample loss: 30.6%). Outcome: CAMHP at T2 according to the Child Behavior Checklist/CBCL’s total problem scale. Psychosocial factors: T1 variables (child/adolescent’s age, family socioeconomic status); trajectory of variables from T1 to T2 (child/adolescent exposure to severe physical punishment, mother exposure to severe physical marital violence, maternal anxiety/depression); and T2 variables (maternal education, child/adolescent’s social support and pro-social activities).
Results
Multivariate analysis identified two risk factors for child/adolescent MHP at T2: aggravation of child/adolescent physical punishment and aggravation of maternal anxiety/depression.
Conclusions
The current study shows the importance of considering child/adolescent physical punishment and maternal anxiety/depression in intervention models and mental health care policies.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-31
PMCID: PMC3570478  PMID: 23327711
Child; Adolescent; Violence; Epidemiology; Longitudinal studies; Psychopathology; Risk factors; Mental health; Developing countries
12.  Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Police-reported Intimate Partner Violence and Risk of Hospitalization among Women 
Objectives
We sought to examine racial and ethnic disparities in police-reported intimate partner violence (IPV) and hospitalization rates and rate ratios among women with police-reported IPV relative to those without such reports.
Methods
This retrospective cohort study linked adult male-to-female IPV police records of non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white women residing in a south central U.S. city with regional hospital discharge data. Rates and incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated and age-adjusted where the data allowed.
Results
Police-reported IPV rates were 2 to 3 times higher among black and Hispanic women compared to white women. Overall, hospitalization rates were higher among black and white victims and lower among Hispanic victims than their counterparts in the comparison group (age-adjusted [a] IRR 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08–1.41; aIRR 1.46, CI 1.19–1.79; and aIRR 0.68, CI 0.54–0.86, respectively). Rate ratios were significant for victims among 1) white women for any mental disorder (aIRR 2.02, CI 1.30–3.13) and for episodic mood/depressive disorders in particular (aIRR 2.18, CI 1.33–3.59); 2) black and white women for any injury-related diagnosis (aIRR 2.46, CI 1.48–4.10 and aIRR 3.20, CI 1.65–6.19, respectively); and 3) all women for intentional injury (IRR 10.45, CI 3.56–30.69) and self-inflicted injury (IRR 4.91, 2.12–11.37).
Conclusions
Exposure to IPV as reported to police increases the rate of hospital utilization among Black and white women but lowers the rate for Hispanic women. Screening for IPV in hospitals may identify a substantial number of IPV-exposed women. Primary and secondary prevention efforts related to IPV should be culturally informed and specific.
doi:10.1016/j.whi.2008.09.005
PMCID: PMC2757408  PMID: 19272561
13.  Violence Exposure and the Association between Young African American Mothers’ Discipline and Child Problem Behavior 
Academic pediatrics  2009;9(3):157-163.
Objective
Children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk of violence exposure and behavior problems, which have been linked to mothers’ disciplinary practices. This study examines how the effect of young African American mothers’ discipline on their preschool-age children’s externalizing and internalizing behavior varies by mother and child violence exposure.
Participants and Methods
A sample of 230 African American mothers who gave birth as adolescents and their 3- to 6-year-old children were recruited from community-based day care and primary health care sites in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. In-person interviews were conducted by trained research assistants using standard survey instruments.
Results
Hierarchical regression models revealed an interaction effect such that adolescent mothers’ harsh disciplinary practices, specifically physical discipline strategies, were positively associated with young children’s internalizing and externalizing behavior in the context of high or moderate but not low maternal violence exposure.
Conclusions
As compared to less violence-exposed mothers, the harsh disciplinary practices of young African American mothers who have been exposed to high levels of violence are more strongly associated with their children’s problem behavior. Practitioners should screen mothers for violence exposure in order to address potential issues of discipline and behavior problems.
doi:10.1016/j.acap.2009.02.003
PMCID: PMC2730742  PMID: 19450775
violence exposure; child behavior; adolescent mothers; harsh discipline
14.  The Long-Term Health Consequences of Child Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Neglect: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(11):e1001349.
Rosana Norman and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the relationship between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect, and subsequent mental and physical health outcomes.
Background
Child sexual abuse is considered a modifiable risk factor for mental disorders across the life course. However the long-term consequences of other forms of child maltreatment have not yet been systematically examined. The aim of this study was to summarise the evidence relating to the possible relationship between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect, and subsequent mental and physical health outcomes.
Methods and Findings
A systematic review was conducted using the Medline, EMBASE, and PsycINFO electronic databases up to 26 June 2012. Published cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control studies that examined non-sexual child maltreatment as a risk factor for loss of health were included. All meta-analyses were based on quality-effects models. Out of 285 articles assessed for eligibility, 124 studies satisfied the pre-determined inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. Statistically significant associations were observed between physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect and depressive disorders (physical abuse [odds ratio (OR) = 1.54; 95% CI 1.16–2.04], emotional abuse [OR = 3.06; 95% CI 2.43–3.85], and neglect [OR = 2.11; 95% CI 1.61–2.77]); drug use (physical abuse [OR = 1.92; 95% CI 1.67–2.20], emotional abuse [OR = 1.41; 95% CI 1.11–1.79], and neglect [OR = 1.36; 95% CI 1.21–1.54]); suicide attempts (physical abuse [OR = 3.40; 95% CI 2.17–5.32], emotional abuse [OR = 3.37; 95% CI 2.44–4.67], and neglect [OR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.13–3.37]); and sexually transmitted infections and risky sexual behaviour (physical abuse [OR = 1.78; 95% CI 1.50–2.10], emotional abuse [OR = 1.75; 95% CI 1.49–2.04], and neglect [OR = 1.57; 95% CI 1.39–1.78]). Evidence for causality was assessed using Bradford Hill criteria. While suggestive evidence exists for a relationship between maltreatment and chronic diseases and lifestyle risk factors, more research is required to confirm these relationships.
Conclusions
This overview of the evidence suggests a causal relationship between non-sexual child maltreatment and a range of mental disorders, drug use, suicide attempts, sexually transmitted infections, and risky sexual behaviour. All forms of child maltreatment should be considered important risks to health with a sizeable impact on major contributors to the burden of disease in all parts of the world. The awareness of the serious long-term consequences of child maltreatment should encourage better identification of those at risk and the development of effective interventions to protect children from violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Child maltreatment—the abuse and neglect of children—is a global problem. There are four types of child maltreatment—sexual abuse (the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not understand, is unable to give consent to, or is not developmentally prepared for), physical abuse (the use of physical force that harms the child's health, survival, development, or dignity), emotional abuse (the failure to provide a supportive environment by, for example, verbally threatening the child), and neglect (the failure to provide for all aspects of the child's well-being). Most child maltreatment is perpetrated by parents or parental guardians, many of whom were maltreated themselves as children. Other risk factors for parents abusing their children include poverty, mental health problems, and alcohol and drug misuse. Although there is considerable uncertainty about the frequency and severity of child maltreatment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 20% of women and 5%–10% of men report being sexually abused as children, and the prevalence of physical abuse in childhood may be 25%–50%.
Why Was This Study Done?
Child maltreatment has a large public health impact. Sometimes this impact is immediate and direct (injuries and deaths), but, more often, it is long-term, affecting emotional development and overall health. For child sexual abuse, the relationship between abuse and mental disorders in adult life is well-established. Exposure to other forms of child maltreatment has also been associated with a wide range of psychological and behavioral problems, but the health consequences of physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect have not been systematically examined. A better understanding of the long-term health effects of child maltreatment is needed to inform maltreatment prevention strategies and to improve treatment for children who have been abused or neglected. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers quantify the association between exposure to physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect in childhood and mental health and physical health outcomes in later life. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; a meta-analysis is a statistical approach that combines the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 124 studies that investigated the relationship between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect and various health outcomes. Their meta-analysis of data from these studies provides suggestive evidence that child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect are causally linked to mental and physical health outcomes. For example, emotionally abused individuals had a three-fold higher risk of developing a depressive disorder than non-abused individuals (an odds ratio [OR] of 3.06). Physically abused and neglected individuals also had a higher risk of developing a depressive disorder than non-abused individuals (ORs of 1.54 and 2.11, respectively). Other mental health disorders associated with child physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect included anxiety disorders, drug abuse, and suicidal behavior. Individuals who had been non-sexually maltreated as children also had a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases and/or risky sexual behavior than non-maltreated individuals. Finally, there was weak and inconsistent evidence that child maltreatment increased the risk of chronic diseases and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking.
What Do These Findings Mean?
By providing suggestive evidence of a causal link between non-sexual child maltreatment and mental health disorders, drug use, suicide attempts, and sexually transmitted diseases and risky sexual behavior, these findings contribute to our understanding of the non-injury health impacts of child maltreatment. Although most of the studies included in the meta-analysis were undertaken in high-income countries, the findings suggest that this link occurs in both high- and low-to-middle-income countries. They also suggest that neglect may be as harmful as physical and emotional abuse. However, they need to be interpreted carefully because of the limitations of this meta-analysis, which include the possibility that children who have been abused may share other, unrecognized factors that are actually the cause of their later mental health problems. Importantly, this confirmation that physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect in childhood are important risk factors for a range of health problems draws attention to the need to develop evidence-based strategies for preventing child maltreatment both to reduce childhood suffering and to alleviate an important risk factor for later health problems.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001349.
The World Health Organization provides information on child maltreatment and its prevention (in several languages); Preventing Child Maltreatment: A Guide to Taking Action and Generating Evidence is a 2006 report produced by WHO and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on child maltreatment and links to additional resources
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to end all cruelty to children in the UK; Childline is a resource provided by the NSPCC that provides help, information, and support to children who are being abused
The Hideout is a UK-based website that helps children and young people understand domestic abuse
Childhelp is a US not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect; its website includes a selection of personal stories about child maltreatment
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001349
PMCID: PMC3507962  PMID: 23209385
15.  Exposure to violence and its relationship to psychopathology in adolescents 
Injury Prevention  2001;7(4):297-301.
Objectives—This study aimed to establish prevalence of adolescents' exposure to violence and related symptoms in the South African context and to explore relationships between exposure and symptoms.
Setting—Four high schools in Cape Town, South Africa.
Methods—Self report questionnaires were administered to 104 students. Types of violence explored included: witnessing or being a victim of violence perpetrated by someone known to the child or in the home and witnessing or being a victim of violence perpetrated by a stranger. The Harvard Trauma Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, and Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale were used to assess potentially related symptoms.
Results—The majority of children had been exposed to at least one type of violence, and exposure to the one type of violence was related to the other type. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression appear to be related to most types of exposure to violence, but anxiety symptoms only to exposure to violence perpetrated by someone known to the child or in the home.
Conclusions—Rates of exposure to violence, and related symptoms, were unacceptably high. Symptoms were associated with exposure to violence.
doi:10.1136/ip.7.4.297
PMCID: PMC1730789  PMID: 11770655
16.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001609.
Ana Maria Buller and colleagues review 19 studies and estimate the associations between the experience and perpetration of intimate partner violence and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) is a significant problem. Little is known about the association between IPV and health for MSM. We aimed to estimate the association between experience and perpetration of IPV, and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
Methods and Findings
We searched 13 electronic databases up to 23 October 2013 to identify research studies reporting the odds of health conditions or sexual risk behaviours for MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV. Nineteen studies with 13,797 participants were included in the review. Random effects meta-analyses were performed to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.88, 95% CIOR 1.59–2.22, I2 = 46.9%, 95% CII2 0%–78%), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, 95% CIOR 1.26–1.69, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–62%), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, 95% CIOR 1.24–1.86, I2 = 9.9%, 95% CII2 0%–91%), and engagement in unprotected anal sex (OR = 1.72, 95% CIOR 1.44–2.05, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–68%). Perpetration of IPV was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.99, 95% CIOR 1.33–2.99, I2 = 73.1%). These results should be interpreted with caution because of methodological weaknesses such as the lack of validated tools to measure IPV in this population and the diversity of recall periods and key outcomes in the identified studies.
Conclusions
MSM who are victims of IPV are more likely to engage in substance use, suffer from depressive symptoms, be HIV positive, and engage in unprotected anal sex. MSM who perpetrate IPV are more likely to engage in substance use. Our results highlight the need for research into effective interventions to prevent IPV in MSM, as well as the importance of providing health care professionals with training in how to address issues of IPV among MSM and the need to raise awareness of local and national support services.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is a common and widespread problem. Globally, nearly a third of women are affected by IPV at some time in their life, but the prevalence of IPV (the proportion of the population affected by IPV) varies widely between countries. In central sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly two-thirds of women experience IPV during their lifetime, whereas in East Asia only one-sixth of women are affected. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional harm that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, and other types of physical force; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent; and emotional abuse includes threatening a partner by, for example, stalking them or preventing them from seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV for women include physical injury, depression and suicidal behaviour, and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
IPV affects men as well as women. Men can be subjected to IPV either by a female partner or by a male partner in the case of men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). Recent reviews suggest that the prevalence of IPV in same-sex couples is as high as the prevalence of IPV for women in opposite-sex relationships: reported lifetime prevalences of IPV in homosexual male relationships range between 15.4% and 51%. Little is known, however, about the adverse health effects of IPV on MSM. It is important to understand how IPV affects the health of MSM so that appropriate services and interventions can be provided to support MSM who experience IPV. In this systematic review (a study that identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria) and meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of several studies using statistical methods), the researchers investigate the associations between the experience and perpetration of IPV and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 studies that investigated associations between IPV and various health conditions or sexual risk behaviours (for example, unprotected anal sex, a risk factor for HIV infection) among MSM. The associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs); an OR represents the odds (chances) that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure. The researchers estimated pooled ORs from the data in the individual studies using meta-analysis. The pooled lifetime prevalence of experiencing any IPV (which was measured in six studies) was 48%. Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with an increased risk of substance (alcohol or drug) use (OR = 1.88, data from nine studies), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, data from three studies), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, data from ten studies), and engagement in unprotected sex (OR = 1.72, data from eight studies). Perpetration of IPV was associated with an increased risk of substance abuse (OR = 1.99, data from six studies).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that MSM frequently experience IPV and that exposure to IPV is associated with several adverse health conditions and sexual risk behaviours. There were insufficient data to estimate the lifetime prevalence of IPV perpetration among MSM, but these findings also reveal an association between IPV perpetration and substance use. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) between the studies included in the meta-analyses, by the design of these studies, and by the small number of studies. Despite these and other limitations, these findings highlight the need to undertake research to identify interventions to prevent IPV among MSM and to learn more about the health effects of IPV among MSM. They highlight the importance of health care professionals being aware that IPV is a problem for MSM and of training these professionals to assess MSM for IPV. Finally, these results highlight the need to improve the availability and effectiveness of support services to which health care professionals can refer MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about IPV and a fact sheet on understanding IPV that includes links to further resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV, including MSM; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project/GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides support and services to MSM experiencing IPV; its website includes some personal stories
The UK not-for-profit organization Respect runs two advice lines: the Men's Advice Line provides advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse and the Respect Phoneline provides advice for domestic violence perpetrators and for professionals who would like further information about services for those using violence/abuse in their intimate partner relationships
The UK not-for-profit organization ManKind Initiative also provides support for male victims of IPV
The UK not-for-profit organization Broken Rainbow UK provides help and support for lesbians and MSM experiencing IPV
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Galop gives advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence, or domestic abuse
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609
PMCID: PMC3942318  PMID: 24594975
17.  Children’s Adjustment Problems in Families Characterized by Men’s Severe Violence Toward Women: Does Other Family Violence Matter? 
Child abuse & neglect  2009;33(2):94-101.
Objective
This research examined whether additional forms of family violence (partner-child aggression, mother-child aggression, women’s intimate partner violence [IPV]) contribute to children’s adjustment problems in families characterized by men’s severe violence toward women.
Methods
Participants were 258 children and their mothers recruited from domestic violence shelters. Mothers and children completed measures of men’s IPV, women’s IPV, partner-child aggression, and mother-child aggression. Mothers provided reports of children’s internalizing and externalizing behavior problems; children provided reports of their appraisals of threat in relation to interparent conflict.
Results
After controlling for sociodemographics and men’s IPV: 1) each of the additional forms of family violence (partner-child aggression, mother-child aggression, women’s IPV) was associated with children’s externalizing problems; 2) partner-child aggression was associated with internalizing problems; and 3) partner-child aggression was associated with children’s threat appraisals. The relation of mother-child aggression to externalizing problems was stronger for boys than for girls; gender differences were not observed for internalizing problems or threat appraisals.
Conclusions
Men’s severe IPV seldom occurs in the absence of other forms of family violence, and these other forms appear to contribute to children’s adjustment problems. Parent-child aggression, and partner-child aggression in particular, are especially important. Systematic efforts to identify shelter children who are victims of parental violence seem warranted.
Practice implications
Men’s severe intimate partner violence seldom occurs in the absence of other forms of family violence (partner-child aggression, mother-child aggression, and women’s intimate partner violence), and these different forms of family violence all contribute to children’s adjustment problems. Treatment programs for children who come to domestic violence shelters should address these different forms of family violence, especially parent-child aggression.
doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.03.005
PMCID: PMC2680381  PMID: 19303141
18.  Prenatal serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) antidepressant exposure and serotonin transporter promoter genotype (SLC6A4) influence executive functions at 6 years of age 
Prenatal exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) antidepressants and maternal depression may affect prefrontal cognitive skills (executive functions; EFs) including self-control, working memory and cognitive flexibility. We examined long-term effects of prenatal SRI exposure on EFs to determine whether effects are moderated by maternal mood and/or genetic variations in SLC6A4 (a gene that codes for the serotonin transporter [5-HTT] central to the regulation of synaptic serotonin levels and behavior). Children who were exposed to SRIs prenatally (SRI-exposed N = 26) and non-exposed (N = 38) were studied at age 6 years (M = 6.3; SD = 0.5) using the Hearts & Flowers task (H&F) to assess EFs. Maternal mood was measured during pregnancy (3rd trimester) and when the child was age 6 years (Hamilton Depression Scale). Parent reports of child behavior were also obtained (MacArthur Health & Behavior Questionnaire). Parents of prenatally SRI-exposed children reported fewer child externalizing and inattentive (ADHD) behaviors. Generalized estimate equation modeling showed a significant 3-way interaction between prenatal SRI exposure, SLC6A4 variant, and maternal mood at the 6-year time-point on H&F accuracy. For prenatally SRI-exposed children, regardless of maternal mood, the H&F accuracy of children with reduced 5HTT expression (a short [S] allele) remained stable. Even with increasing maternal depressive symptoms (though all below clinical threshold), EFs of children with at least one short allele were comparable to children with the same genotype whose mothers reported few if any depressive symptoms—in this sense they showed resilience. Children with two long (L) alleles were more sensitive to context. When their mothers had few depressive symptoms, LL children showed extremely good EF performance—better than any other group. When their mothers reported more depressive symptoms, LL children's EF performance was worse than that of any other group. In the face of a mother with a more depressed mood, EFs were best preserved in children prenatally exposed to SRIs and with at least one short SLC6A4 allele. Yet, prenatally-exposed LL children hold out promise of possibly superior EF if their mother's mood remains euthymic or improves.
doi:10.3389/fncel.2013.00180
PMCID: PMC3795328  PMID: 24130516
serotonin; executive function; childhood; prenatal exposure; SRI; SLC6A4 genotype; depression
19.  Parenting Attitudes and Infant Spanking: The Influence of Childhood Experiences 
Pediatrics  2009;124(2):e278-e286.
OBJECTIVES
To assess associations among maternal childhood experiences and subsequent parenting attitudes and use of infant spanking (IS), and determine if attitudes mediate the association between physical abuse exposure and IS.
METHODS
We performed a prospective study of women who received prenatal care at community health centers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sociodemographic characteristics, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), attitudes toward corporal punishment (CP), and IS use were assessed via face-to-face interviews, conducted at the first prenatal care visit, 3 months postpartum, and 11 months postpartum. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted.
RESULTS
The sample consisted of 1265 mostly black, low-income women. Nineteen percent of the participants valued CP as a means of discipline, and 14% reported IS use. Mothers exposed to childhood physical abuse and verbal hostility were more likely to report IS use than those not exposed (16% vs 10%, P = .002; 17% vs 12%, P = .02, respectively). In the adjusted analyses, maternal exposure to physical abuse, other ACEs, and valuing CP were independently associated with IS use. Attitudes that value CP did not mediate these associations.
CONCLUSIONS
Mothers who had childhood experiences of violence were more likely to use IS than mothers without such experiences. Intergenerational transmission of CP was evident. Mothers who had experienced physical abuse as a child, when compared to those who had not, were 1.5 times more likely to use IS. Child discipline attitudes and maternal childhood experiences should be discussed early in parenting in order to prevent IS use, particularly among at-risk mothers.
doi:10.1542/peds.2008-3247
PMCID: PMC3760718  PMID: 19620204
physical punishment; adverse childhood experiences; positive influences in childhood; Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory
20.  Domestic Violence and Perinatal Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001452.
Louise Howard and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence and odds of experience of domestic violence experience among women with antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Domestic violence in the perinatal period is associated with adverse obstetric outcomes, but evidence is limited on its association with perinatal mental disorders. We aimed to estimate the prevalence and odds of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental disorders (depression and anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], eating disorders, and psychoses).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO reference CRD42012002048). Data sources included searches of electronic databases (to 15 February 2013), hand searches, citation tracking, update of a review on victimisation and mental disorder, and expert recommendations. Included studies were peer-reviewed experimental or observational studies that reported on women aged 16 y or older, that assessed the prevalence and/or odds of having experienced domestic violence, and that assessed symptoms of perinatal mental disorder using a validated instrument. Two reviewers screened 1,125 full-text papers, extracted data, and independently appraised study quality. Odds ratios were pooled using meta-analysis.
Sixty-seven papers were included. Pooled estimates from longitudinal studies suggest a 3-fold increase in the odds of high levels of depressive symptoms in the postnatal period after having experienced partner violence during pregnancy (odds ratio 3.1, 95% CI 2.7–3.6). Increased odds of having experienced domestic violence among women with high levels of depressive, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms in the antenatal and postnatal periods were consistently reported in cross-sectional studies. No studies were identified on eating disorders or puerperal psychosis. Analyses were limited because of study heterogeneity and lack of data on baseline symptoms, preventing clear findings on causal directionality.
Conclusions
High levels of symptoms of perinatal depression, anxiety, and PTSD are significantly associated with having experienced domestic violence. High-quality evidence is now needed on how maternity and mental health services should address domestic violence and improve health outcomes for women and their infants in the perinatal period.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Domestic violence—physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by an intimate partner or family member—is a major public health problem and although more common in women, can also affect men. Due to the nature of the problem, it is difficult to collect accurate figures on the scale of domestic violence, but a study by the World Health Organization in ten countries found that 15%–71% of women aged 15–49 years reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Women experiencing domestic violence have significant short- and long-term health problems, particularly regarding their mental health: experience of domestic violence can lead to a range of mental health disorders such as depression, psychosis, eating disorders, and even suicide attempts.
Why Was This Study Done?
As perinatal mental health disorders are among the commonest health problems in pregnancy and the postpartum period, and given the rate of domestic violence during pregnancy (previous studies have suggested a domestic violence prevalence of 4%–8% during pregnancy and the postnatal period), it is plausible that there may be a link between perinatal mental health disorders and having experienced domestic violence. Indeed, previous reviews have suggested the existence of such an association but were limited by the small number of included studies and focused on depression only, rather than the full range of antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders. So in this study the researchers systematically reviewed published studies to provide more robust estimates of the prevalence of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders; the researchers also used a meta-analysis to estimate the odds (chance) of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental health disorders.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched multiple databases and hand searched three relevant journals using key search terms to identify all types of relevant studies. Using specific criteria, the researchers retrieved and assessed over 1,000 full papers, of which 67 met the criteria for their systematic review. The researchers assessed the quality of each selected study and included only those studies that used validated diagnostic instruments and screening tools to assess mental health disorders in their calculations of the pooled (combined) odds ratio (OR) through meta-analysis.
Using these methods, in cross-sectional studies (studies conducted at one point in time), the researchers found that women with probable depression in the antenatal period reported a high prevalence and increased odds of having experienced partner violence during their lifetime (OR = 3), during the past year (OR = 2.8), and during pregnancy (OR = 5). The results were similar for the postnatal period. The evidence was less robust for anxiety disorders: among women with probable anxiety in the antenatal period, the researchers found an OR of 2.9 of having experienced lifetime partner violence. The odds were less in the postnatal period (OR = 1.4) In their analysis of longitudinal studies (follow-up studies over a period of time), the researchers found an increased odds of probable postnatal depression both among women who reported having ever experienced partner violence in their lifetime (OR = 2.9) and among women who reported having experienced partner violence during pregnancy (OR = 3.1). The researchers also found a combined prevalence estimate of 12.7% for probable depression during the postnatal period following experiences of partner violence during pregnancy. Because of limited data, the researchers could not calculate an OR of the association between probable antenatal depression and later experiences of partner violence.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that women with high levels of symptoms of perinatal mental health disorders—antenatal and postnatal anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder—have a high prevalence and increased odds of having experienced domestic violence both over their lifetime and during pregnancy. However, these findings cannot prove causality, they fail to show a two-way association (that is, perinatal mental health disorders leading to subsequent domestic violence), and no information on other perinatal mental disorders, such as eating disorders and puerperal psychosis, was available. The variation of the quality of the included studies also limits the results, highlighting the need for high-quality data to suggest how maternity and mental health services could address domestic violence and improve health outcomes for women and their infants in the future. Nevertheless, this study emphasizes the importance of identifying and responding to possible domestic violence among women attending antenatal and mental health services.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001452.
The World Health Organization provides information and statistics about violence against women and also about mental health disorders during pregnancy
The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists has information for professionals and patients about mental health disorders during pregnancy
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001452
PMCID: PMC3665851  PMID: 23723741
21.  Antenatal psychosocial risk factors associated with adverse postpartum family outcomes. 
OBJECTIVE: To determine the strength of the association between antenatal psychosocial risk factors and adverse postpartum outcomes in the family, such as assault of women by their partner, child abuse, postpartum depression, marital dysfunction and physical illness. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Cinahl, Famli, Psych Abstracts and the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials were searched from relevant articles published from Jan. 1, 1980, to Dec. 31, 1993, with the use of MeSH terms "depression, involutional," "child abuse," "child neglect," "domestic violence," "family," "marital adjustment," "family health," "newborn health," "child health," "physical illness," "social support," "psychosocial risk," "prediction," "risk factors," "obstetrics" and "prenatal care." Further articles were identified from bibliographies. STUDY SELECTION: Of the 370 articles identified through the search, 118 were included for review. Studies were included if they examined the association between psychosocial risk factors and the outcomes of interest. Articles were excluded if they were reviews of poor quality or they had one or more of the following features: insufficient description of the sample, a high attrition rate, a lack of standardized outcome measures, outcomes other than the ones of interest or results that had already been reported in a previous study. DATA EXTRACTION: The strength of evidence of each study was evaluated. On the basis of the evidence, each risk factor was assigned a rating of the strength of its association with each of the postpartum outcomes. The ratings were class A (good evidence of association), class B (fair evidence) and class C (no clear evidence). Of the 129 antenatal psychosocial risk factors studied, 15 were found to have a class A association with at least one of the postpartum outcomes. DATA SYNTHESIS: Child abuse and abuse of the mother by her partner were most strongly correlated (class A evidence) with a history of lack of social support, recent life stressors, psychiatric disturbance in the mother and an unwanted pregnancy. Child abuse was also strongly associated with a history of childhood violence in the mother or her partner, previous child abuse by the mother's partner, a poor relationship between the mother and her parents, low self-esteem in the mother and lack of attendance at prenatal classes. Postpartum abuse of the mother was also associated with a history of abuse of the mother, prenatal care not started until the third trimester and alcohol or drug abuse by the mother or her partner (class A evidence). Child abuse had a fair (class B) association with poor marital adjustment or satisfaction, current or past abuse of the mother and alcohol or drug abuse by the mother or her partner. There was class B evidence supporting an association between abuse of the mother and poor marital adjustment, traditional sex-role expectations, a history of childhood violence in the mother or her partner and low self-esteem in the mother. Postpartum depression was most strongly associated with poor marital adjustment, recent life stressors, antepartum depression (class A evidence), but was also associated with lack of social support, abuse of the mother and a history of psychiatric disorder in the mother (class B evidence). Marital dysfunction was associated with poor marital adjustment before the birth and traditional sex-role expectations (class A evidence), and physical illness was correlated with recent life stressors (class B evidence). CONCLUSIONS: Psychosocial risk factors during the antenatal period may herald postpartum morbidity. Research is required to determine whether detection of these risk factors may lead to interventions that improve postpartum family outcomes.
PMCID: PMC1487795  PMID: 8634957
22.  Maternal Child Abuse and its Association with Maternal Anxiety in the Socio-Cultural Context of Iran 
Oman Medical Journal  2013;28(6):404-409.
Objectives
The prevalence of parental violence has been an area of major public concern. There are few available data detailing the ways parents and other caregivers discipline children, particularly in low and middle income countries. This study focuses on the prevalence of different types of maternal child abuse and its association with maternal anxiety in the socio-cultural context of Iran.
Methods
Participants in this cross-sectional study consisted of 562 mothers with the last child aged from 1 month to 12 years old who attended the Amirkola Children’s Referral Hospital in Mazandaran Province, Iran, seeking healthcare services for their children. Demographic characteristics of the mothers, their children and reactions to conflicts with children were evaluated by a validated version of Conflict Tactics Scale for Parent and Child. Also, the relationship between maternal anxiety and child abuse was assessed using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The association between variables was examined by Pearson correlation coefficient, independent t-test, one-way ANOVA, and multivariate regression.
Results
The prevalence of mother-to-child corporal punishment, severe physical abuse and very severe physical abuse were 436 (78%), 260 (46%) and 180 (32%), respectively. Verbal emotional abuse was reported by 506 (90%) participants and nonverbal emotional abuse was reported in 374 (67%) cases. A correlation was observed between child abuse and mothers’ age (p=0.02), as well as with the number of children in the family (p=0.03), and the mothers’ trait anxiety (p<0.001).
Conclusion
Overall, the assessment of maternal child abuse should be an important focus for evaluation in mothers with anxiety and vice versa, when child abuse is suspected, maternal psychological assessment should be essential.
doi:10.5001/omj.2013.116
PMCID: PMC3815852  PMID: 24223243
Anxiety; Child abuse; Maternal behavior
23.  Corporal Punishment and Youth Externalizing Behavior in Santiago, Chile 
Child abuse & neglect  2012;36(6):481-490.
Objectives
Corporal punishment is still widely practiced around the globe, despite the large body of child development research that substantiates its short- and long-term consequences. Within this context, this paper examined the relationship between parental use of corporal punishment and youth externalizing behavior with a Chilean sample to add to the growing empirical evidence concerning the potential relationship between increased corporal punishment and undesirable youth outcomes across cultures.
Methods
Analysis was based on 919 adolescents in Santiago, Chile. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted to examine the extent to which parents’ use of corporal punishment and positive family measures were associated with youth externalizing behavior. Furthermore, the associations between self-reported externalizing behavior and infrequent, as well as frequent, use of corporal punishment were investigated to contribute to understanding how varying levels of parental use of corporal punishment were differently related to youth outcomes.
Results
Both mother’s and father’s use of corporal punishment were associated with greater youth externalizing behavior. Additionally, increases in positive parenting practices, such as parental warmth and family involvement, were met with decreases in youth externalizing behavior when controlling for youth demographics, family socioeconomic status, and parents’ use of corporal punishment. Finally, both infrequent and frequent use of corporal punishment were positively associated with higher youth problem behaviors, though frequent corporal punishment had a stronger relationship with externalizing behavior than did infrequent corporal punishment.
Conclusions
Parental use of corporal punishment, even on an occasional basis, is associated with greater externalizing behavior for youth while a warm and involving family environment may protect youth from serious problem behaviors. Therefore, findings of this study add to the growing evidence concerning the negative consequences of corporal punishment for youth outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.03.006
PMCID: PMC3493175  PMID: 22766372
Chile; Corporal Punishment; Externalizing Behavior; Youth
24.  The Invisible Suffering: Sexual Coercion, Interpersonal Violence, and Mental Health - A Cross-Sectional Study among University Students in South-Western Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51424.
Background
Despite a history of conflicts and widespread human rights violation in sub-Saharan Africa, little is known about the prevalence of interpersonal violence among the population in this region. Evidence from high-income countries suggests that exposure to violence has mental health consequences and violence also has associations with experiences of sexual coercion.
Aims
This study sought to investigate the prevalence of physical and perceived threats of violence among university students in Uganda and to assess the possible relationship between such violence, sexual coercion, and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychoticism, respectively.
Method
In 2005, 980 Ugandan university students responded to a self-administered questionnaire (response rate 80%) that assessed socio-demographic factors, social capital, importance of religion, mental health, experience of violence and sexual coercion, and sexual behaviour factors. Logistic regression analysis was applied as the main analytical tool.
Results
Of those who responded, 28% reported perceived threats/threats of violence and 10% exposure to actual physical violence over the previous 12 months, with no significant gender differences in exposure history. Exposure to violence was significantly associated with the experience of sexual coercion among both males and females. Sexual coercion and threats/threats of violence were both significantly associated with poor mental health in males and females, but only males showed a strong association between exposure to physical violence and poor mental health.
Conclusion
The current study suggests that in terms of general exposure, both males and females in the study population are equally exposed to sexual coercion and interpersonal violence, and both male and female students show generally similar mental health effects of exposure to such violence. The prevalence of interpersonal violence found in our study population may have long-term negative health implications. Our findings may serve as a baseline for interventions and continuing research aimed at preventing interpersonal violence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051424
PMCID: PMC3519892  PMID: 23240021
25.  Prenatal drug exposure and peer victimization in early adolescence: Testing childhood anxiety/depression and aggression as possible mediators 
Objective
Children who are prenatally exposed to drugs may be at risk for emotion dysregulation, including childhood anxiety/depression and aggression, potentially increasing their risk for peer victimization. The objectives were to investigate how prenatal drug exposure relates to adolescent peer victimization and the mediating effects of childhood anxiety/depression and aggression.
Methods
76 prenatally drug exposed (PDE) and 38 non-exposed (NE) adolescent-caregiver dyads followed since birth and middle childhood, respectively, participated in an evaluation during adolescence. In middle childhood, caregivers reported on their child’s anxiety/depression and aggression, and children reported on violence exposure. In adolescence, caregivers and adolescents responded to a parallel single-item measure of peer victimization. Analyses were conducted using multivariate linear and logistic regression models, adjusting for covariates, including violence exposure.
Results
One third (33.3%, n=35) of the sample endorsed peer victimization: 40.8% PDE and 17.6% NE, p=.01. In middle childhood, PDE youth had more aggressive behaviors (11.92 vs. 7.45, p<.01) and anxiety/depression symptoms (3.43 vs. 1.76, p<.01) than NE youth. Anxious/depressed behavior during childhood mediated the association between prenatal drug exposure and adolescent peer victimization. Aggression was not a significant mediator.
Conclusions
The consequences of prenatal drug exposure extend into adolescence. Prenatal drug exposure may interfere with emotion regulation, resulting in anxious/depressed behavior during childhood, and significantly increasing the risk for peer victimization during adolescence, even in the presence of violence exposure. Strategies to reduce anxious/depressed behavior among children with a history of prenatal drug exposure may reduce adolescent peer victimization.
doi:10.1097/DBP.0b013e31825609f0
PMCID: PMC3725605  PMID: 22481073
prenatal drug exposure; peer victimization; emotion dysregulation; adolescence; anxiety

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