McNair Scholars Research Journal
The Relationship Between Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence, Behavior Problems and Weight Status in Preschool Age Children in Head Start Programs
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a growing public health concern disproportionally affecting children and their families. Researchers have reported that of 85-90% of children who have witnessed IPV that occurs in the home, 47% of those are under the age of six (Graham-Bermann & Perkins, (2010). Surprisingly, few studies have explored the effects of IPV in preschool-age children. This study examined the relationship between maternal reports of exposure to IPV and preschool-age children’s behavior and physical health, particularly obesity. Participants consisted of 100, predominantly African American (92%) primary care givers of children enrolled in Head Start programs in the city of Detroit. The purpose of this study is to: (1) describe the level of potential IPV in the homes of primary caregivers with a child in Head Start, and (2) to examine the relationship between IPV and preschool-age children’s behavioral problems and obesity, so that programs may be developed to better serve preschool-age IPV survivors and their families. There are two hypotheses for this study: (1) Primary caregivers who report incidents of IPV will also report more internalizing and externalizing behaviorial problems in their preschool-age children, and (2) primary caregivers who report incidents of IPV will have children with higher BMIs compared to children whose mothers did not report incidents of IPV.