Although a wealth of research has examined the effects of parental mood disorders on offspring maladjustment, studies have not identified whether elevated interparental violence (IPV) may be an exacerbating influence in this pathway. This study examined levels of physical IPV perpetration and victimization in mothers with unipolar depression or Bipolar Disorder (BD) and the processes by which maternal physical IPV moderated adolescents' physical aggression in families with maternal mood disorders. Mothers with lifetime mood disorders were predicted to have elevated IPV compared to well mothers, and maternal IPV was expected to moderate the association between lifetime mood disorders and adolescent aggression. Participants included 61 intact families with maternal depression (n = 24), BD (n = 13), or well mothers (n = 24) and two siblings (ages 10 to 18 years). Using the Conflict Tactics Scale, mothers reported on IPV perpetration and victimization, and adolescents reported on physical aggression. Mothers with BD reported significantly higher IPV perpetration, but not victimization, than depressed or well mothers. An interaction between maternal BD and IPV perpetration was a significant predictor of adolescent aggression. Main effects of maternal IPV victimization and interaction effects of maternal depression and either type of IPV on adolescent aggression were not significant. Adolescents of mothers who have BD and perpetrate IPV may be particularly vulnerable to being aggressive. Prevention and policy efforts to deter transmission of aggression in high-risk families should target families with maternal BD and intervene at the level of conflict resolution within the family. Aggr. Behav. 41:253–266, 2015.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Many have contributed significantly to this study, including Anne Mayfield and Gale Inoff?Germain. We want to thank the NIMH Childrearing Study participants who have shown such tremendous dedication by contributing to the understanding of mood disorders. Funding for the first author was provided by a Graduate School Fellowship from the University of Minnesota. This study was supported by the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It is part of a larger study of children of depressed mothers (?Study of Psychological Development of Children of Parents With and Without Affective Disorders?; protocol number NCT00001170; P.W. Gold, PI; also referred to as the ?Childrearing Study?) directed for more than two decades by Marian Radke?Yarrow, Ph.D., through the Child Development Section of the NIMH, and currently led by Philip W. Gold, M.D, of the Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch of the NIMH.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Bipolar Disorder
- interparental violence