Academic and School Health Issues Among Children Exposed to Maternal Intimate Partner Abuse | Intimate Partner Violence | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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Article
June 2002

Academic and School Health Issues Among Children Exposed to Maternal Intimate Partner Abuse

Author Affiliations

From the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (Drs Kernic, Holt, Wolf, and Rivara), the Departments of Epidemiology (Drs Kernic, Holt, Wolf, and Rivara), Biostatistics (Dr McKnight), and Health Services (Dr Huebner), School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington; the Department of Family and Child Nursing, School of Nursing, University of Washington (Dr Huebner), and the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Washington (Dr Rivara), Seattle, Wash.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(6):549-555. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.6.549
Abstract

Objective  To determine the association between children's exposure to maternal intimate partner violence (IPV) and academic problems and school health concerns.

Design  The study population consisted of 153 children aged 5 to 16 years who attended public school and whose mothers experienced police- or court-reported IPV. The comparison group consisted of public school peers of the exposed children. Generalized linear modeling using a binomial distribution and log-link function served as the primary method of analysis.

Setting  Urban public school district.

Main Outcome Measures  The occurrence of academic problems and type-specific school nurse visits during the 1-year study period.

Results  Children whose mothers experienced IPV were more likely to be suspended from school (relative risk [RR], 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-1.7) and to have had frequent non–suspension-related absences (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0-2.3) than comparison children after adjusting for relevant confounders. Intimate partner violence–exposed children were more likely to have a school nurse visit for social or emotional complaints (RR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.3-3.9), a visit that resulted in being sent home from school (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1-2.3), or a visit that led to referral to the school speech pathologist (RR, 7.5; 95% CI, 1.9-29.6) relative to comparison schoolchildren after adjusting for relevant confounders.

Conclusions  Children's exposure to maternal IPV is significantly associated with the occurrence of academic problems and school health concerns. Describing the increased risk of the academic and health problems exhibited by IPV-exposed children relative to nonexposed children offers the possibility of improving the likelihood that clinicians will identify the woman who experienced abuse and her children, and promote referral to appropriate resources.

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