Lauren Fries Costello, PhD

The Long Term Effect of Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) on Children’s Trauma, Depression, and Academic Achievement among a Nationally Representative Child Welfare Sample

This dissertation extends existing literature by examining the long-term effect of IPV exposure on trauma, depression and academic achievement utilizing a nationally representative sample of school-aged children in the CWS who remain in their parents’ custody. Secondary data analysis was conducted using the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW-II), a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of children referred to Child Protective Services (CPS) for alleged child abuse and/or neglect.

Results from multilevel models found that IPV frequency and severity were significantly related to children’s trauma and depression over time, with severe IPV exposure, but not minor IPV exposure, predicting greater trauma and depression symptoms. The findings suggest that CWS caseworkers should screen for the presence of IPV in the home. Screenings must assess the frequency and severity of the IPV exposure among children investigated for abuse/neglect and should be conducted on an ongoing basis at regular contact points. Interventions for children exposed to IPV in the CWS should be targeted toward decreasing psychological effects, including depression and trauma, to foster healthy development and enhance educational outcomes.