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Free Content Impact of Parental Conflict and Emotional Abuse on Children and Families

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The goal of this review is to summarize empirical research conducted over the past several decades examining the impact of parental conflict and emotional abuse on children and families. Toward this goal, four different subtopics are categorized and reviewed. These include the impact of mutual couple conflict, verbal, and emotional abuse/control on children; the impact of father-perpetrated verbal and emotional abuse/control on children; the impact of mother-perpetrated verbal and emotional abuse/control on children; and the impact of partner abuse on the family system including consideration of family stress, boundaries, alliances, and family structure. A review of the literature revealed 105 empirical papers, which are referenced in tables. Overarching theoretical and conceptual frameworks proposed within the field of interparental conflict and child development are used to organize and distill the broad findings evident across these studies. Recommendations for future avenues of research are presented.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2012

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  • Partner Abuse, a peer-reviewed journal, recognizes that physical and emotional abuse among dating, cohabitating and married partners is as a major public health and social problem in North America and around the world. Its purpose is to advance knowledge, practice and policies through a commitment to rigorous, objective research and evidence-based solutions. In addition to original research papers and literature reviews, the journal welcomes viewpoints and commentaries on the topic of partner abuse, as well as clinical case studies, book reviews and letters to the editor.
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