Problematic behaviour in childhood can have different precursors, including traumatic experiences and exposure to negative interaction styles. Such experiences can include exposure to violence in the household, for instance between parents and their partners (intimate partner aggression, IPA). Although IPA has been associated with conduct problems in toddlers, research has primarily adopted a broad and gendered approach to IPA, focusing on uni-lateral IPA towards mothers without consideration of the severity of IPA. Furthermore, the risk and protective factors that can explain the development of conduct problems within homes characterised by IPA have not been explored. Past models of family violence and discord have highlighted the need to adopt multifactorial theoretical models to explain outcomes above and beyond single factor theories. Understanding how risk and protective factors from different theoretical perspectives interact with IPA and child behavioural problems across the early years of development will enable the development of more specific and targeted interventions for those families.
Therefore, this project aims to investigate the role of risk and protective factors for the effects of uni- and bi-directional IPA on early child behavioural problems and vice-versa. Specifically, a longitudinal design will be employed to investigate the relationship from pregnancy, up to year 8 of the child’s life. In line with the governmental strategies for young peoples’ wellbeing, understanding the factors that put their mental and physical health as well as their safe environment at risk will provide the basis to develop guidance for targeted interventions.