Background: Early family-level and social-level stressors are both assumed to be the components of two main path models explaining the association between exposure to interparental violence in childhood and its long-term consequences on mental health explored through lifecourse epidemiological studies. Aims: To investigate the association between exposure to interparental violence in childhood and mental health outcomes in adulthood when taking into account early family and social stressors.
Methods: A retrospective French cohort study of 3023 adults representative of the general population in the Paris metropolitan area was conducted in 2005 through athome, face-to-face interviews. The outcomes measures were current depression and lifetime suicide attempt, intimate partner violence, violence against children and alcohol dependence.
Results: The adults exposed to interparental violence during childhood had a higher risk of psychosocial maladjustment. After adjusting for family- and social-level stressors in childhood, this risk was, respectively, 1.44 (95% CI 1.03 to 2.00) for depression, 3.17 (1.75 to 5.73) for conjugal violence, 4.75 (1.60 to 14.14) for child maltreatment and 1.75 (1.19 to 2.57) for alcohol dependence.
Conclusions: The adult consequences of parental violence in childhood - and this independently of the other forms of domestic violence and the related psychosocial risks - should lead to intensifying the prevention of and screening for this form of maltreatment of children.