Conflict Appraisals and Trauma Symptoms in Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence

Kara A. Cochran*, G. Anne Bogat, Alytia A. Levendosky, Cecilia Martinez-Torteya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) are at risk for posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. The current study investigated children’s threat and self-blame appraisals about parental conflict as potential mechanisms leading to these adverse outcomes. Parent-child relationships were also examined. The sample consisted of 119 10-year-olds and their mothers who were recruited from the community as part of a larger study of IPV. Children’s reports of IPV directed at their mother in the past year were not associated with PTSS; however, IPV exposure was associated with attenuated cortisol output in response to a social stressor. IPV exposure was also associated with greater threat appraisals and poorer quality parent-child relationships. These results provide further evidence that witnessing IPV is threatening for children, has negative consequences for parent-child relationships, and can impact children’s HPA axis functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-259
Number of pages16
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2022 Springer Publishing Company, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law


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