Mother-child emotion dialogues in families exposed to interparental violence

Margreet Visser*, Mathilde M. Overbeek, J. Clasien De Schipper, Kim Schoemaker, Francien Lamers-Winkelman, Catrin Finkenauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This cross-sectional study examined the hypothesis that parent–child emotion dialogues among interparental violence (IPV) exposed dyads (n = 30; 4–12 years) show less quality than dialogues among nonexposed dyads (n = 30; 4–12 years). Second, we examined whether parental posttraumatic stress symptoms and parental adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were associated with the quality of the dialogues. As expected, in the IPV-exposed group, quality of mother-child emotion dialogues was of lesser quality; dyads often showed a lack of elaboration in their dialogue; mothers showed less sensitive guidance; and children showed less cooperation and exploration, compared to dialogues, dyads, mothers, and children in the nonexposed group. Although maternal posttraumatic stress symptoms and maternal history of ACEs were significantly higher in the IPV-exposed families than in the nonexposed families, these variables were not associated with the quality of emotion dialogues. Clinical implications and study limitations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-198
JournalJournal of Child Custody
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Child maltreatment
  • domestic violence
  • parent-child emotion dialogues
  • parent-child relationship
  • parental posttraumatic stress


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