Poverty, Parental Stress, and Violent Disagreements in the Home Among Rural Families

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
August 2005
Studies suggest that between 3.3 and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Children witnessing domestic violence are more likely to have emotional/ behavioral problems and be in abusive relationships in adulthood regardless of co-occurring child maltreatment. A recent ORHP report noted that ". . . the already significant problems of battered women are likely exacerbated by rural factors."

The study will use the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), a nationally representative telephone survey, to address the following hypotheses:

  • The prevalence of poverty, parental stress and violent disagreements in the home increase with rurality.
  • Economic hardships at the individual and community levels are associated with increased parental stress. We hypothesize the effects of economic hardships will be magnified in rural families and decreased for African American, Hispanic, and other race/ethnicity families.
  • Parental stress will be positively associated with rates of violent disagreements in the home; this relationship will be consistent across all race/ethnicity groups.
  • Parental stress and violent disagreements in the home will be positively associated with presence of mental health problems in children.

As with other SCRHRC studies, findings will be disseminated through a technical report to ORHP, 'Key Facts' sheets, presentations at state and national conferences, and through publication in the medical and social sciences literature.