Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

16000 Direct and Indirect Child Exposure to Violence: Effects Upon Academic Performance and Disability

Sunday, January 15, 2012: 10:45 AM
Constitution C (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Lisa R. Kiesel, MSW, Ph.D. Student Graduate Assistant, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN
Kristine N. Piescher, PhD, Director of Research & Evaluation, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN
Jeffrey L. Edleson, PhD, Professor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN
Background and Purpose: The broad impact upon children of exposure to violence in the home is evident. Studies of both children's exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM) reveal impacts upon children's social, emotional and behavioral adjustment, health/mental health, and school performance. Commonly there is an overlap of these violence exposure experiences for children, experiencing both exposure to IPV and CM. Research has attempted to understand the compounding and unique effects of this dual exposure upon children.

This longitudinal investigation explores the impact of children's indirect exposure to intimate partner violence and direct exposure to child maltreatment upon children's disability status, academic achievement, and school stability. How the type of violence exposure differently impacts academic achievement, school attendance, student mobility, type of disability, and the likelihood of special education eligibility, grade retention, and dropping-out are examined. Age and gender factors are explored.

Method: This was a secondary data analysis utilizing administrative data accessed through the Minn-LInK Project at the University Of Minnesota School Of Social Work. The data utilized were from statewide child protection and education data. Utilizing data over a five year span of time, this study was a longitudinal investigation using a four group design (IPV, CM, IPV/CM, no violence). This design allowed for comparison of singular, dual, and no abuse cohorts. Violence exposed groups and the comparison group were matched using propensity score matching on variables of age, race, gender, SES, and region. Outcome data included annual attendance rate, standardized test scores (MCA's) in reading and math, special education eligibility and disability type.

Results: Longitudinal analysis using the Generalized Estimating Equations procedure was conducted. Significant differences between groups in student annual attendance rate and standardized test scores for reading and math over three years were found. (Annual Attendance: QIC = 191.636, Wald χ2 = 126.637, p < .001; MCA Reading: QIC = 802.174, Wald χ2 = 95.965, p < .001; MCA Math: QIC = 1095.564, Wald χ2 = 122.382, p < .001.) Means for the IPV group were significantly lower on all measures, as were all exposed groups in relation to comparison group. Multiple and logistic regression analyses and non-parametric tests, revealed violence exposed groups were more likely to be special education eligible; IPV exposure increased likelihood of dropping out; and CM group had a higher likelihood of grade retention. Age and gender were not significant predictors of achievement.

Conclusion and Implications: It is clear from the results that violence exposure impacts student performance, disability, and school attendance. The IPV only group fairs most poorly overall. The other two violence exposed groups have substantiated abuse, thus prompting further system response. The IPV only cases, however, may not have received further care. It is perhaps the loss of child protection intervention that differentiates these children from others in the achievement trajectory over time. This study did not find evidence for additive effects of multiple types or frequency of violence exposure as have other studies.

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