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Date Created: 01/10/16
J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 DOI 10.1007/s10826-013-9748-8 ORIGINAL PAPER The Relationship Between Male-Perpetrated Interparental Aggression, Paternal Characteristics, and Child Psychosocial Functioning Jeniimarie Febres Ryan C. Shorey Heather C. Zucosky Hope Brasfield • Michael Vitulano JoAnna Elmquist Andrew Ninnemann Lindsay Labrecque • Gregory L. Stuart Published online: 11 April 2013 ▯ Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013 Abstract Itiswellestablishedthatchildreninhomeswhere million violent crimes were committed between family interparental violence is present are at increased risk for members, with 49 % perpetrated against spouses (United psychosocial (i.e., internalizing, externalizing, and attention)tates Department of Justice 2005). Further, estimates of difficulties. However, previous studies have provided a lim- the number of children who witness interparental aggres- ited view on the variety of factors that commonly co-occur in sion have reached 50 % (Edleson 1999). As a result, these environments (e.g., other characteristics of the parents increased attention has been paid to the effects of inter- and family) and how they may collectively impact children. parental aggression on children. However, previous studies Knowing this information could have implications for have provided a limited view of the variety of factors that parentalinterventions aimed atpreventingthe continuation or commonly co-occur in environments where interparental initiation of psychosocial problems in children. Thus, the aggression is present and how they may collectively impact present study simultaneously examined the association children. Information on which variables place children between father-perpetrated interparental aggression, father who are in homes where interparental aggression is present characteristics,andchildpsychosocialfunctioninginasample at greatest risk for psychosocial problems could be used to of 145 men arrested for domestic violence. Results showed inform intervention programs for parents in the interest of that of all the variables examined, paternal antisocial per- preventing the continuation or initiation of psychosocial sonality traits and interpersonal hostility were uniquely problems in their children. Thus, the present study exam- associated with overall child psychosocial impairment, ined father-perpetrated interparental aggression and father characteristics, including interpersonal hostility, antisocial externalizing problems, and attention problems. Implications for intervention programs are discussed. and borderline personality traits, alcohol use, and drug use, as they related to child psychosocial functioning in a Keywords Child psychosocial functioning  Domestic sample of men arrested for domestic violence and court- violence  Interparental aggression referred to batterer intervention programs (BIPs). The father characteristics chosen for this study are among the Introduction most well supported correlates of male-perpetrated inti- mate partner violence (IPV) and closely reflect current Family violence occurs at an astonishingly high rate in the theoretical understandings of these men (Holtzworth- United States. Between 1998 and 2002, approximately 3.5 Munroe et al. 2000; Stuart et al. 2008). J. Febres (&)  R. C. Shorey  H. C. Zucosky  H. Brasfield  Child Psychosocial Functioning and Interparental Aggression M. Vitulano  G. L. Stuart Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, 204 Austin Peay Building, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA It is well established that interparental aggression adversely e-mail: influences various child adjustment outcomes. Studies have J. Elmquist  A. Ninnemann  L. Labrecque shown a positive association between interparental aggres- Butler Hospital, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA sion and child internalizing (e.g., depressed mood, anxiety) 123 908 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 and externalizing (e.g., delinquency, substance abuse) children (i.e., Macfie 2009), there is a dearth of information problems. For instance, in a meta-analysis of studies exam- about paternal borderline personality traits as they relate to ining the relationship between interparental conflict styles child functioning. With evidence suggesting that males and youth problem behaviors (i.e., internalizing and exter- exhibit similar rates and levels of impairment as females nalizing problems), Buehler et al. (1997) found an average with Borderline Personality Disorder (Becker and Lamb effect size of .35 for parents’ use of an overt parental conflict994; Nehls 1998; Zlotnick et al. 2002) and research style, which included behaviors such as ‘‘insulting’’ and demonstrating that a substantial portion of male perpetra- ‘‘hitting.’’ Similarly, Kitzmann et al. (2003) found a signif- tors of IPV exhibit borderline personality traits (Dutton and icant association between exposure to interparental aggres- Starzomski 1993; Hamberger and Hastings 1991), an sion, andchild somatic complaints andaggressionproblems, examination of the effects of paternal borderline traits on such that children who witnessed interparental aggression children is warranted. fared worse than non-witnesses. Paternal alcohol abuse has also been found to be asso- ciated with children’s psychosocial functioning. In a lon- Child Psychosocial Functioning and Paternal gitudinal study comparing children of parents meeting the Characteristics criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence to children with non-alcohol abusing or dependent parents, Chassin et al. The functioning of children in homes where interparental (1999) found that paternal alcoholism was directly asso- aggression exists may be further complicated by a variety ciated with child depressive symptoms, other internalizing of individual paternal characteristics. A number of studies symptoms (e.g., fear, nervousness), and externalizing on male perpetrators of intimate partner violence (i.e., symptoms. Christensen and Bilenberg (2000) found that psychological, physical, and sexual aggression) show that children whose fathers were alcoholics exhibited signifi- these men are likely to report that they are interpersonally cantly greater amounts of socially deviant behavior (e.g., hostile, to endorse antisocial and borderline personality refusal to talk, withdrawal) than those with mothers who traits, and to have problems with drugs and/or alcohol were alcoholics. Further, sons exhibited significantly more (Holtzworth-Munroe et al. 2000; Stuart and Holtzworth- internalizing problems if they had alcoholic fathers versus Munroe 2005; Stuart et al. 2003). These same character- alcoholic mothers. In addition, numerous studies have istics have been shown to adversely impact child found that parental drug problems are associated with functioning. For example, researchers describe parental increased child internalizing, externalizing, and attention hostility as ‘‘one form of chronic distress that has been problems (e.g., Barnard and McKeganey 2004). identified as contributing to parents’ inability to attend and respond effectively to children’s behavior and needs’’ Current Study (Denham et al. 2000; p. 39). In their study of seventh graders, Harold and Conger (1997) found that perceived Despite evidence that they commonly co-occur, no studies interparental hostility and parent-to-child hostility were have examined the collective effect of interparental associated with internalizing symptoms for daughters and aggression, parental hostility, parental antisocial and bor- sons, and externalizing symptoms for sons. Likewise, Low derline personality traits, and parental substance use on and Stocker (2005) found that hostility directed towards child psychosocial functioning. Thus, the current study children from their fathers is related to children’s inter- simultaneously examined these variables to determine nalizing and externalizing problems. unique parental risk factors for the psychological func- Paternal antisocial personality traits have also been tioning of children exposed to interparental aggression by found to be associated with child functioning. In their study fathers who were court-referred to BIPs. Since this is the of more than 1,500 twins, Blazei et al. (2008) found that first study to examine these characteristics simultaneously, fathers’ antisocial traits were significantly associated with we were interested in looking broadly at the impact fathers conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder in their attending BIPs have on their children. For this reason, we children. Similar effects were found across 11 and 17 year- controlled for the gender and age of the child, and house- old age groups. Likewise, after controlling for fathers’ hold income in our analyses, as these characteristics have presence in the home and mothers’ antisocial traits, Jaffe been shown to impact the relation between parental char- et al. (2003) found fathers’ antisocial traits to be associatedacteristics and child psychosocial functioning (Buehler with child antisocial traits. et al. 1997; Harold and Conger 1997; Kitzmann et al. While there is increasing information about the influ- 2003). Based on the aforementioned research, it was ence of maternal borderline personality traits on child hypothesized that paternal IPV perpetration and each of the functioning, such that these traits in mothers are related to other paternal characteristics would be positively associ- attention difficulties, delinquency, and aggression in their ated with child psychosocial impairment. However, due to 123 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 909 the lack of studies that examine these variables simulta- justice system. All procedures were approved by the neously, no a priori hypotheses were provided regarding Institutional Review Board at Butler Hospital. the degree to which these variables would each contribute unique variance to impaired child psychosocial Measures functioning. Demographics Questionnaire Method Information was gathered about the participants’ age, education, income, ethnicity, marital and dating status, and Participants number of children. The sample consisted of men who were arrested for a Intimate Partner Violence domestic violence offense and court-referred to Rhode Island batterer intervention programs (BIPs). These men IPV perpetration in the past year was assessed with the represent a subsample of men who participated in a larger Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2; Straus et al. 1996). study examining men mandated to BIPs (i.e. Stuart et al. The psychological aggression and physical assault subscales 2006, 2008). Men who reported having children and were examined for the current study. Total scores were completed the measures of interest for this study were obtainedbysummingthefrequencyofeachofthebehaviorsin included in the current analyses (N = 145). Participants the year before entrance into the BIP. The score for each item reported a mean age of 35.01 years (SD = 8.27), education can range from 0 to 25 with higher total scores on the CTS2 of 12.30 years (SD = 2.15), and annual income of $37,124 indicating more frequent aggression. Adequate reliability and (SD = $25,214). The ethnic composition of the sample validity have been demonstrated (Straus et al. 1996, 2003). was 67.6 % non-Hispanic Caucasian, 15.9 % African- The internal consistencies for the current study were .75 American, 11.0 % Hispanic, 2.1 % American Indian or (psychological aggression) and .82 (physical assault). Alaskan Native, 0.7 % Asian or Pacific Islander, and 2.8 % ‘‘Other.’’ The characteristics of this sample closely match Alcohol Use the federal statistics on male domestic violence offenders and multi-state research studies of BIPs (Gondolf 1996; The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT; National Institute of Justice 2009). Specifically, those Saunders et al. 1993b) was used to measure the quantity sources report that the majority of offenders are between 18 and frequency of drinking, drinking intensity, symptoms of and 41 years old with a significant portion of men in their dependence and tolerance, and alcohol-related negative early to mid thirties, more than half have a high school consequences in the past year. Scores can range from 0 to education, and less than half were men of color. At the time 40. The AUDIT has demonstrated adequate reliability and of entry into the BIP, 10 % of the men reported that they validity (Saunders et al. 1993a). The internal consistency were dating, 35 % reported that they were married, and for the present study was .87. 34 % reported that they were living together, not married. They had an average of 2.71 children (SD = 1.87). Par- Drug Use ticipants were asked to report on the psychosocial func- tioning of only one of their children age 4–17. The children The Drug Use Disorders Identification Tests (DUDIT; Stuart the participants chose to report about ranged in age from 4 et al. 2003) was used to measure quantity and frequency of to 15 years old with a mean age of 8.5 years (SD = 3.43). drug use, drug use intensity, symptoms of dependence and tolerance, and drug-related negative consequences in the past Procedure year. The classes of drugs included in this measure are can- nabis,cocaine,hallucinogens/PCP, nonprescribed stimulants, Recruitment took place at BIP locations around Rhode nonprescribed sedatives/hypnotics/anxiolytics, nonprescribed Island. Announcements about the research study were opiates, and ‘‘other’’ substances. Scores can range from 0 to made by study staff and informed consent was obtained 56. In the present study, the internal consistency was .86. from those expressing an interest in the study. Participation was voluntary and all men completed the questionnaires Antisocial and Borderline Personality Traits during their regularly scheduled BIP sessions. No com- pensation was provided for completing the questionnaires. The Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) and Border- None of the information gathered was shared with the line Personality Disorder (BPD) subscales of the Person- intervention facilitators or anyone within the criminal ality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4 (PDQ4; Hyler et al. 1988) 123 910 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 were employed in this study. The PDQ4 is intended to be a for the entire measure (Jellinek et al. 1986; Jellinek and screening instrument for possible personality disorders, Murphy 1990), as well as for each individual subscale with higher total scores indicating more endorsement of (Gardner et al. 1999). The range of sensitivity and speci- associated characteristics. The PDQ4 has good test–retest ficity for full scale, respectively, is .87–.95 and .68–.89 for reliability (Trull 1993) and high internal consistency (Hyler ages 6–12 (Jellinek and Murphy 1990), and .64 and .93 for et al. 1989). The range of sensitivity and specificity, ages 4–5 (Little et al. 1994). For the subscales, the sensi- respectively, is .62–.75 and .89–.91 for the PDQ4 ASPD tivity and specificity, respectively, is .79 and .68 (Internal- subscale, and .95–.98 and .41–.68 for the BPD subscale izing), .77 and .80 (Externalizing), and .87 and .79 (Hyler et al. 1990). In this study, the internal consistency (Attention) (Gardner et al. 1999). For this study, the internal for the ASPD subscale was .90 and .81 for the BPD consistency was .93 when all 35-items were examined, .77 subscale. for the internalizing problems subscale, .79 for the exter- nalizing problems subscale, and .78 for the attention prob- Hostility lems subscale. Participants were asked to report on one child, age 4–17, from their household who they thought had The Hostility Subscale of the Aggression Questionnaire the most difficulties in the areas described, and to indicate (AQ-Hos; Buss and Perry 1992) was used to measure the child’s gender (0 = male, 1 = female) and age with two interpersonal hostility. Sample items include, ‘‘I am questions added to the beginning of the measure. sometimes eaten up with jealousy’’ and ‘‘When people are especially nice, I wonder what they want.’’ A five-point Data Analysis scale was used to measure responses (1 = extremely uncharacteristic of me to 5 = extremely characteristic of To examine the relationship between interparental me). The scale has demonstrated good reliability (Buss and aggression, paternal hostility, paternal antisocial and bor- Perry 1992). For this study, the internal consistency was derline personality traits, paternal substance use, household .86. income, child gender, child age, and child psychosocial functioning, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) using Child Psychosocial Functioning AMOS version 18 was employed (Arbuckle 2009). All models were estimated using full information maximum The Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC; Jellinek et al. likelihood estimation (FIMLE) which uses all available 1986) is a 35-item self-report questionnaire used to assess data to compute parameter estimates without excluding overall child psychosocial functioning. In addition to missing data (Kline 2011). For this sample, none of the examining overall functioning with the total score, sub- variables had missing data, with the exception of the scales separately assessing internalizing (5 items), exter- DUDIT (3 %), PDQ4-ASPD (13 %), PDQ4-BPD (14 %), nalizing (7 items), and attention problems (5 items) from the and AQ-Hos (13 %). Relative to pairwise and listwise 17-item version of the PSC (Gardner et al. 1999), which are deletion, FIMLE has been shown to be more efficient and composed of items selected from the full 35-item version, less biased for managing up to 25 % missing data (Enders were also examined. Sample items from each subscale, and Bandalos 2001). A fully saturated model (i.e., zero respectively, include, ‘‘Worry a lot’’, ‘‘Fight with other degrees of freedom) was used to examine the proposed children’’, and ‘‘Easily distracted.’’ Scores for overall path model of parental and child characteristics on child functioning and functioning on each of the subscales were functioning. Fully saturated models provide a perfect fit to obtained by summing the frequency of the corresponding the data and, thus, no model fit indices were examined or items. Score choices for each item included 0 = never, reported (Kline 2011). 1 = sometimes, and 2 = always, with higher scores indi- cating worse functioning. To assess the prevalence of psy- chosocial problems, cutoff scores of 24 for 4–5 year olds Results (Little et al. 1994) and 28 for 6–16 year olds (Jellinek et al. 1999) on the full 35-item total score were used. Scores at or Descriptive Statistics above these cutoffs suggest ‘‘sufficient psychosocial dys- function to warrant… spending time to assess whether First we examined the overall and subscale cutoff scores. further evaluation or treatment is indicated’’ (Jellinek et alFour of 36 children (11.1 %) ages 4–5 (one child excluded 1999). On each of the subscales, cutoff scores of 5 for for missing data) and 10 of 108 children (9.3 %) ages 6–15 internalizing problems, 7 for externalizing problems, and 7 met the cutoff for dysfunctional overall psychosocial for attention problems were used (Gardner et al. 1999). functioning. A look at the subscales showed that across all Adequate psychometric properties have been demonstrated 145 children, 10 (6.9 %) met the cutoff on the internalizing 123 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 911 problems scale, 17 (11.7 %) met the cutoff on the exter- nalizing problems scale, and 6 (4.1 %) met the cutoff on .02.07.02 - - - – the attention problems scale. Means, standard deviations, and bivariate correlations among study variables are presented in Tables 1 and 2. -00-00 – .64** Overall child psychosocial functioning was positively Personality Diagnostic associated with paternal antisocial and borderline personality traits, interpersonal hostility, psychological and - BPD .02 physical IPV, and each of the PSC subscales (poorer child - – PDQ** .54** functioning). Child internalizing problems were positively associated with paternal drug use, overall child psychoso- cial functioning, and child externalizing and attention .03 - – .80** .87** .81** problems. Child externalizing problems were positively associated with paternal drug use, antisocial and borderline personality traits, psychological and physical IPV, overall .04 .08 .00 .11 .09 – .13 .03 .20* .12 .20* .24** child psychosocial functioning, and child internalizing and - - attention problems. Child attention problems were posi- tively associated with paternal antisocial and borderline personality traits, interpersonal hostility, psychological and -15 – .58** .18* .07 .21* physical IPV, overall child psychosocial functioning, and child internalizing and externalizing problems. Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-ASPD Scale, .09 .09 .04 Child Psychosocial Functioning Outcomes - - – .23** .13 .21* .14 - ASPD The relationship between paternal perpetration of psycho- PDQ logical and physical IPV, paternal characteristics, house- .19*18 .01 .11 .05 - - – .32** .16 .18* .20* .16 hold income, child age and gender, and child psychosocial functioning was analyzed in two separate models: one examining overall child functioning (Fig. 1) and one .18 .06 .02 – .56** .16 .23** .22* .26** examining the three psychosocial functioning subscales - - Table 1 Means and standard deviations for study variables .13 .07 4 3 12 5116 70 819 1 Variable M SD 1. Household income 37,123.54 25,214.19 .14 .02 2. Child gender 1.53 .50 - - Drug use Disorders Identification Questionnaire, 3. Child age 8.49 3.43 4. AUDIT 8.34 8.02 .08 .10 .03 .02 DUDIT 5. DUDIT 4.74 8.27 - 6. PDQ-4 ASPD 2.45 2.16 7. PDQ-4 BPD 2.27 2.04 .12 .04 8. Hostility 19.00 6.98 - 9. Psychological aggression 29.75 29.69 10. Physical aggression 9.43 19.45 11. PSC total 12.12 10.20 Pediatric Symptom Checklist 12. PSC internalizing subscale 1.45 1.77 PSC 13. PSC externalizing subscale 2.95 2.66 14. PSC attention subscale 2.32 2.27 .01 AUDIT Alcohol use Disorders Identification Questionnaire, DUDIT \ Correlations for study variables ** p Drug use Disorders Identification Questionnaire, PDQ-4 ASPD Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-ASPD Scale, PDQ-4 BPD Alcoho.05;e Disorders Identification Questionnaire, Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-BPD Scale, PSC Pediatric \ subscale p Symptom Checklist TableariableHousehold incomeI.QD4.H1silP–tD2sgiicca–l34. AUDITe4–ionnaire-BPD –cale, .43–** 123 912 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 Household Income Household Income Child Gender Child Gender Child Age Child Age Paternal Alcohol Use and Child Internalizing Paternal Alcohol Use and Problems Problems Problems Paternal Drug Use and Paternal Drug Use and Problems Problems Overall Child Psychosocial Paternal Antisocial Functioning Paternal Antisocial Personality Traits Personality Traits Child Externalizing Problems Paternal Borderline Paternal Borderline Personality Traits Personality Traits Paternal Hostility Paternal Hostility Child Attention Problems Paternal Psychological IPV Paternal Psychological Perpetration IPV Perpetration Paternal Physical IPV Paternal Physical IPV Perpetration Perpetration Fig. 1 Model of the simultaneous regression of overall child Fig. 2 Model of the simultaneous regression of child internalizing, psychosocial functioning on paternal perpetrated intimate partner externalizing, and attention problems on paternal perpetrated intimate violence, paternal characteristics, child characteristics, and household partner violence, paternal characteristics, child characteristics, and income household income simultaneously (Fig. 2). For clarity of presentation, covariances were excluded from the figures, and betas, standard errors, critical ratios, and probability statistics are Table 3 Betas, standard errors, critical ratios, and probability sta- reported separately in Tables 3, 4. tistics for Fig. 1 In the first model (Fig. 1), paternal antisocial personality Overall child psychosocial functioning traits were positively associated with overall child psy- b E RBS C p chosocial functioning. Additionally, in the first model, child age was positively associated with overall child Household income .04 .00 .41 .00 .68 psychosocial functioning. In the second model (Fig. 2), Child gender -.01 -.29 -.17 1.68 .87 paternal antisocial personality traits were positively asso- Child age .16 .48 2.02 .24 .04 ciated with child externalizing problems, while paternal AUDIT .01 .02 .13 .12 .90 hostility was positively associated with child attention DUDIT -.06 -.07 -.56 .13 .57 problems, and paternal drug use was negatively associated PDQ-4 ASPD .23 1.07 2.08 .51 .04 with child attention problems. PDQ-4 BPD .05 .23 .40 .58 .69 Hostility .15 .22 1.69 .13 .09 Psychological aggression .07 .03 .72 .04 .47 Discussion Physical aggression .10 .05 1.02 .05 .31 AUDIT Alcohol use Disorders Identification Questionnaire, DUDIT The primary goal of the current study was to simultaneously Drug use Disorders Identification Questionnaire, PDQ-4 ASPD Per- examine paternal perpetrated IPV, paternal characteristics, sonality Diagnostic Questionnaire-ASPD Scale, PDQ-4 BPD Per- child characteristics, and household income as they relate to sonality Diagnostic Questionnaire-BPD Scale 123 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 913 Table 4 Betas, standard errors, critical ratios, and probability statistics for Fig. 2 Internalizing problems Externalizing problems Attentional problems b ERBSC p b E RBS C p b ERBSC p Household income .13 .00 1.42 .00 .16 .09 .00 .95 .00 .34 -.03 .00 -.32 .00 .75 Child gender .03 .11 .36 .30 .72 -.00 -.01 -.03 .44 .96 -.07 -.33 -.92 .36 .36 Child age .16 .08 1.93 .04 .05 .04 .03 .51 .06 .61 .05 .03 .58 .05 .56 AUDIT -.12 -.03 -1.27 .02 .21 .01 .00 .09 .03 .93 .00 .00 .03 .03 .97 DUDIT .17 .04 1.62 .02 .11 -.03 -.01 -.31 .03 .76 -.22 -.06 -2.16 .03 .03 PDQ-4 ASPD .13 .10 1.12 .09 .26 .29 .34 2.60 .13 .01 .17 .18 1.57 .11 .12 PDQ-4 BPD .06 .05 .48 .10 .63 .02 .02 .14 .15 .89 .10 .11 .85 .13 .40 Hostility .13 .03 1.44 .02 .15 .08 .03 .95 .03 .34 .21 .07 2.31 .03 .02 Psychological aggression -.08 -.00 -.73 .01 .47 .09 .01 .87 .01 .39 .19 .01 1.91 .01 .06 Physical aggression .08 .01 .81 .01 .42 .08 .01 .81 .01 .42 .12 .01 1.24 .01 .21 AUDIT Alcohol use Disorders Identification Questionnaire, DUDIT Drug use Disorders Identification Questionnaire, PDQ-4 ASPD Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-ASPD Scale, PDQ-4 BPD Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-BPD Scale child psychosocial functioning in a sample of men arrested abuse, may result from observing impulsive or irresponsible for domestic violence. This extends past research on the paternal emotion regulation strategies. Further, a child’s effects of the home environment on child psychosocial externalizing behaviors may be directly or indirectly rein- functioning (e.g., Blazei et al. 2008; Buehler et al. 1997; forced by fathers who demonstrate antisocial personality Christensen and Bilenberg 2000; Harold and Conger 1997) traits through the aggressive or reckless ways that they relate by examining all of these variables simultaneously. While to others. In addition, fathers who are interpersonally hostile results suggested that numerous paternal variables (e.g., may create a chaotic and overstimulating environment, ASPD and BPD traits, interpersonal hostility, drug use, which may make it difficult for children to concentrate or psychological and physical aggression) were individually cause them to act out for attention-seeking purposes. Future related to impairment in child psychosocial functioning, investigations should replicate and extend these findings to when accounting for all paternal variables concurrently, examine whether the association found here between pater- only paternal ASPD traits were uniquely associated with nal antisocial traits, interpersonal hostility, and child psy- children’s overall psychosocial impairment and external- chosocial functioning exist in other samples, as well as to izing problems. In addition, results indicated that paternal better understand what is responsible for these associations. interpersonal hostility was uniquely positively associated Findings from this study are consistent with previous with child attention problems above and beyond the other research that shows that the psychosocial functioning of paternal variables. childrenisnegativelyimpactedinhomeswhereinterparental The relationship between paternal antisocial traits, inter- aggression is present, and where fathers exhibit antisocial personal hostility, and child psychosocial functioning in this personality traits and/or interpersonal hostility (Blazei et al. study may be explained by the process of modeling, as 2008; Buehler et al. 1997; Low and Stocker 2005). As such, conceptualized by Social Learning Theory (Bandura 1977). these findings support informing men mandated to BIPs More specifically, Social Learning Theory posits that abouthowtheirchildrencansuffernegativeconsequencesas observing and imitating others is one central way people a result of their behavior. Existing BIPs have demonstrated learn specific behaviors (Bandura 1977). For example, limited effectiveness at preventing recidivism (Babcock research has shown that children learn about emotions by et al. 2004; Feder and Wilson 2005). Research specific to imitating their parents’ emotional expressions, by observing antisocial personality disorder shows that, across treatment the ways in which emotions are discussed by their parents, modalities,treatmentcompletionisoneofthebestindicators andbyexperiencingtheirparents’reactiontotheiremotional of symptom improvement and that the key to this may be experience (Eisenberg et al. 1998). Therefore, it is possible ‘‘special motivational circumstances that increase the like- that the modeling and social reinforcement of dysfunctional lihood ofthepatients’ remainingin treatment long enough to ways of expressing and regulating emotions, such as those benefit’’ (Reid and Gacono 2000, p. 652). Consequences to often employed by individuals who possess antisocial per- their children may be the ‘‘special motivational circum- sonality traits and who are interpersonally hostile, could stance’’ that some of these men need to enhance the rele- negatively influence child psychosocial functioning. Child vance of treatment for those lacking motivation for change, externalizing problems, such as delinquency and substance to enhance their engagement in treatment, to encourage 123 914 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 treatment completion, and thus, to increase their odds of antisocial traits and interpersonal hostility. Thus, paternal positive change. Furthermore, previous research indicates antisocial personality traits and interpersonal hostility may that an interpersonal style that is straightforward, rigidly be the only two factors demonstrating unique associations consistent, and focuses on the severity of the potential con- with child psychosocial functioning. Replication of these sequences should their behavior remain unchanged may be results is needed. the most effective approach when treating ASPD in men It is important to consider the limitations of the current (Reid and Gacono 2000). Accordingly, informing men in study when interpreting these findings. First, the relatively BIPs in a direct, unwavering manner that emphasizes the small sample size may have made it difficult to detect severity of the negative consequences their behavior may additional significant associations. Thus, future investiga- have on their children may be most effective. In addition, the tions should include larger samples. Second, full disclosure negative effects sustained by individuals other than just the via self-report of sensitive information, such as the func- spousal victims of the IPV these men perpetrate may argue tioning of children and IPV perpetration, may be affected by for greater focus in treatment on more broad-based cognitive impression management, particularly in a court-mandated and behavioral tendencies (Murphy and Eckhardt 2005), sample. Subsequent studies should control for social such as anger control (Glancy and Saini 2005; Hamberger desirability and obtain collateral information, including etal.1997)anddeficitsinsocialinformationprocessing(Fite partner reports of aggression and child functioning. Since et al. 2008; Holtzworth-Munroe 1992; Taft et al. 2008), this study is the first to examine the effect of interparental rather than solely on intimate relationship tendencies (Stuart aggression, paternal hostility, paternal antisocial and bor- etal.2007).ImprovingBIPsmaybeoneavenuetoultimately derline personality traits, and paternal substance use impact the outcome of children in a positive way. simultaneously on child psychosocial functioning, the These findings may also prove useful to parenting inter- impact the fathers in this sample had on their children were ventions that incorporate information targeted towards par- considered broadly, across household income, child age, ents who are aggressive towards their children. It may be that and child gender. Future research should look more closely the fathers enrolled in those specific programs resemble the at whether these factors moderate the associations between malesinoursampleinthewaytheyareinterpersonallyhostile paternal IPV perpetration, paternal characteristics, and child and antisocial (e.g., poor emotion regulation) to the point of psychosocial functioning. Also, antisocial and borderline perpetratinginterpersonalaggression(Chaffinetal.2004).As personality traits were assessed using a screening self-report such, some of the fathers in those programs may also be measure. In subsequent studies, a more rigorous instrument experiencing significant discord with their relationship part- for evaluating such traits, such as the Structured Clinical ner or, as research shows, may even be perpetrating IPV Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorders (SCID-II; (Shipmanetal.1999).AssessingformaritalproblemsandIPV First et al. 1997), might be beneficial. In addition, the specifically could provide parenting intervention facilitators study’s cross-sectional design prevents conclusions about with more information about parents in order to decide if causality among the study variables. The generalizability of additional services or referrals should be provided to enhance the findings is also limited by the nature of the population parenting outcomes(Chaffin etal. 2004).Inaddition,withthe studied and the fact that the majority of the men identified as knowledge that these maladaptive interaction patterns extend non-Hispanic Caucasian. Finally, accounting for additional beyond the parent–child relationship, facilitators may be able variables, such as frequency of father’s presence in the to increase participant engagement in the trainings by home, father’s psychopathology, and complementary emphasizing that the skills they teach can be of benefit across maternal characteristics would be helpful in future studies. relationships and by providing opportunities to practice more Despite these limitations, findings from the current study adaptive interaction styles through role-playing. contribute to the growing literature on child functioning in In addition, while the bivariate correlations showed that homes where interparental aggression is present. A simul- paternal drug use was not significantly associated with taneous analysis of paternal IPV perpetration, antisocial attention problems on the PSC, when put in the model with and borderline personality traits, interpersonal hostility, the other variables, paternal drug use showed a negative substance use, child age, child gender, and household association with child attention problems. This suggests a income showed that paternal antisocial personality traits negative suppressor effect (Kline 2011), whereby paternal and interpersonal hostility were significantly associated drug use was not significantly associated with child psy- with overall child psychosocial impairment, as well as chosocial functioning until the variance attributed to the child externalizing and attention problems. These findings other variables in the model was controlled. This may may have implications for the treatment of men in BIPs and mean that the association between paternal drug use and parenting programs, which may benefit both men and their child psychosocial functioning is not as robust as that children. Replication and continued investigation into why between child psychosocial functioning and paternal such associations exist are needed. 123 J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23:907–916 915 Acknowledgments This work was supported, in part, by grant First, M. B., Gibbon, M., Spitzer, R. L., Williams, J. B. W., & K24AA019707 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Benjamin, L. S. (1997). Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV Alcoholism (NIAAA) awarded to the last author. Axis II personality disorders, (SCID-II). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, Inc. Conflict of interest The content is solely the responsibility of the Fite, J. E., Bates, J. E., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Dodge, K. 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