University of Limerick
Accepted Paper Version 2 Exposure to DVA.pdf (940.86 kB)

Exposure to domestic violence and abuse: evidence of distinct physical and psychological dimensions

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-09, 13:42 authored by Catherine M. Naughton, Aisling T. O'Donnell, Orla T. Muldoon
Recent literature on exposure to domestic violence highlights the need for increased understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse (DVA). The current aims were to explore whether two separate dimensions, physical and psychological DVA, were evident in adult children’s reports of their exposure to DVA in their family of origin and whether these dimensions impacted psychological wellbeing and perceived satisfaction with emotional support (hereafter referred to as social support satisfaction). Young adults (N = 465, aged 17 to 25, 70% female) reported their experiences of DVA as perpetrated by their parents/caregivers, as well as psychological wellbeing and social support satisfaction, in an online survey. Using confirmatory factor analysis we verified the presence of a 2-factor (physical and psychological DVA) model. Hierarchical linear regression analysis demonstrated the differing impact of these two factors: specifically, while exposure to psychological DVA (DA) was related to reduced psychological wellbeing, there was no significant effect of exposure to physical DVA (DV). However, mediation analysis suggested the presence of a suppression effect; there was a magnification of the negative relationship between exposure to psychological DA and social support satisfaction when exposure to physical DV was accounted for. Although findings are preliminary, they provide strong evidence to support theoretical arguments regarding the need for future research to conceptualize exposure to DVA in terms of both physical and psychological dimensions. Our findings also highlight that in order to improve service response and provide effective interventions, it is essential to include exposure to psychological DA in risk assessments of such young adults.



Journal of Interpersonal Violence;pp. 1-22


Journal of Interpersonal Violence




This is the author accepted version of an article that was published by SAGE Publications in Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2017, pp. 1-22,



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