Given the gendered nature of intimate partner violence (IPV), this study examined whether gender role interacted with gender to predict behavioral problems in 176 children exposed to IPV.
Children exposed to IPV are likely to develop behavioral problems, but findings are mixed regarding whether girls and boys are differentially affected. Bem (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 634–643, 1975) argued that gender role is an important predictor of mental health, and this relationship may differ for males and females due to societal gender norms. The current study found that among four-year-old children, gender-typed gender roles were a risk factor for girls but not boys, and androgynous gender roles were protective for both boys and girls on average; however, post hoc analyses indicated the amount of IPV exposure mattered; androgynous girls exposed to chronic IPV had more behavioral problems. Thus, these findings suggest the importance of societal and family gender norms in determining children’s risk for behavioral problems following exposure to IPV. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: February 1, 2017