Mediating factors affecting psychosocial wellness for women exposed to intimate partner violence in childhood
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the long-term implications of childhood exposure to physical intimate partner violence on women's social and psychological functioning in adulthood. To address one of the challenges associated with previous research in this area, the present study employed a multi-component conception of social and psychological well-being, referred to as psychosocial wellness. The present study also explored the influence of two key factors potentially mediating outcomes for women exposed to intimate partner violence in childhood: stage of development at the time of exposure and the experience of childhood physical abuse. Participants included 262 female young adults from undergraduate university classes (Mean Age = 21 years), who completed the Conflict Tactic Scale -2, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale, and the Trauma Symptom Checklist. The findings indicated that females exposed to intimate partner violence demonstrated higher levels of trauma symptoms, t (-2.53),p = .012; and significantly lower scores on satisfaction with life t (-3.18), p=.002. Furthermore, females who had been both exposed and abused during childhood reported increased trauma symptoms, F (1,1740.34) = 14.40, p=.000, social avoidance and distress, F (1,1740.34) = 14.40, p = .000, and satisfaction with life, F(1, 426.05) = 8.40, P=.004. The findings of this study suggest that exposure to physical intimate partner violence in childhood has an impact on women's social and psychological functioning in adulthood. Furthermore, the results suggest that women's outcomes on internalized domains of functioning may be attributable to the co-occurrence of mediating factors such as childhood physical abuse. The strengths and limitations of the present study are outlined, followed by implications for future research and practice.