Online Program

Relationship power, equity, and violence in relation to child outcomes

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Crystal Gibson, School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Tamora Callands, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Trace Kershaw, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Background: Power imbalances in intimate relationships affect decision making regarding health, and may result in intimate partner violence (IPV) and poor psychological health outcomes. Children of individuals with low power may also be vulnerable to adverse health outcomes. The present study aimed to elucidate the role of power, equity, and IPV in outcomes for their children in an urban sample of adolescent parents.

Methods: 159 male and 182 female parents in a relationship were recruited through university-affiliated hospitals. Power, equity, and IPV were measured 6 months post-partum and were used as predictors for parenting and child outcomes 12 months post-partum using general estimating equations. Gender interactions and mediation effects of depression were also assessed.

Results: Higher perceived relationship equity was related to better infant temperament, (B=.052, SE=.023, p=.02) whereas higher partner power was related to poorer social (B= -.201, SE=.088, p=.02) and fine motor development (B= -.195, SE=.078, p=.01). IPV was associated with poor infant temperament (B= -2.925, SE=1.083, p=.007) and lower parenting competence (B= -3.508, SE=1.142, p=.002). Depression mediated the relationship between IPV and parenting as well as IPV and infant temperament. No gender effects were found.

Conclusions: Power imbalances were disadvantageous for child outcomes. Previous work suggests that women may be particularly vulnerable to adverse effects of power imbalances. However, our results indicate that perceived power imbalances may negatively affect both males and females, which is disadvantageous for parenting and child outcomes. Interventions promoting equity and power in relationships could benefit couples and their children.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess the relationship between relationship power, equity, and interpersonal violence on child outcomes.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a student researcher on federally-funded research projects focused on mental health and understanding interpersonal factors related to sexual risk and health outcomes in adolescent couples. Among my research interests are maternal and child health in low-income minority populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.