Does Parental Physical Violence Reduce Children's Standardized Test Score Performance?

  • Peek-Asa C
  • Maxwell L
  • Stromquist A
 et al. 
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Purpose: Many negative cognitive and behavioral outcomes have been identified among children living in households with parental violence, but few studies have examined academic performance. In a rural population-based cohort, we examine the role of parental violence on standardized test score performance. Methods: The cohort included 306 children ages 6 through 17. Parents responded to a health interview that included questions about physical violence. Children's standardized test scores were collected prospectively for 5 years after the parent interview. Hierarchical multivariate models clustering on school, household, and repeated individual test scores and controlling for children's and parent's characteristics were run to predict test score performance. Results: One in five children lived in a household in which parents reported at least one act of physical violence. Children whose parents reported intimate partner violence (IPV) performed an average of 12.2 percentile points lower than children whose parents reported no IPV (95% CI, -19.2--5.2; p < 0.001). Parent-reported IPV led to larger test score reductions for girls than for boys and for children less than 12 years old than for older children. Conclusions: Parental physical violence was common, and children in homes with violence had significantly poorer performance on standardized test scores. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cohort Study
  • Educational Measurement
  • Intimate Partner Violence

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  • Corinne Peek-Asa

  • Leah Maxwell

  • Ann Stromquist

  • Paul Whitten

  • Mary Ann Limbos

  • James Merchant

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