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Investigating the role of childhood maltreatment and witnessing intimate partner violence on childhood behaviour and mental health

Hillberg, Tanja (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The aim of this thesis was to investigate the role of childhood maltreatment (CM) and witnessing intimate partner violence (W.IPV) on childhood behaviour and mental health (MH). The complex interaction of risk, protection and mediating factors are considered in the ecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Part I of the thesis provides a systematic examination of the literature. Chapter 1 considered the strengths and weaknesses of existing meta-analytical reviews on the association between childhood sexual abuse and adult psychopathology. This highlighted the need to address issues of study validity. Chapter 2 reviews the link between CM and childhood behavioural and emotional difficulties, concluding that the same vulnerability to these difficulties exists in childhood as in adulthood. The ecological model provides a structure for understanding how a combination of contextual levels influences a child’s vulnerability. Part II investigates the relationship between CM and MH outcomes. Chapter 3 examines the effect of CM and/or W.IPV in a community sample, highlighting the mediating properties of emotion regulation and pro-social behaviour. In a clinical sample, concurrent W.IPV/CM was associated with more adverse outcomes at pre-treatment (Chapters 4,5,7) and post-treatment (Chapter 5), as well as recurrent re-referrals to MH services (Chapter 6). Parental nationality (Chapter 4, 5), maternal economic/housing difficulties (Chapters 5, 6), and peer friendship difficulties (Chapters 4, 5, 6) were consistently found to have a short-term, rather than a long-term effect, on a child’s well-being. The results of the thesis are discussed in terms of policies and practical implications for future research.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hamilton-Giachritsis, Catherine and Dixon, Louise
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Psychology
Subjects:BF Psychology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:921
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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