The Impact of Early Violence Exposure on Adolescent Flourishing : Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Publication Year


Journal Article

Child maltreatment (CM) and intimate partner violence (IPV) are prevalent in the United States and associated with negative mental and physical health outcomes. Thus far, research and clinical care have focused on reducing symptoms of illness, but little is known about whether or how CM and IPV exposure can lead to flourishing in adolescence. To examine the impact of CM and IPV exposure on adolescent mental and physical flourishing as well as moderators and mediators affecting this pathway. A secondary data analysis of 2,232 children in the Future of Families Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) was conducted to examine waves 1–6 including variables on CM/IPV, general flourishing, mental flourishing, BMI, and healthy eating. Race, socioeconomic status (SES), and gender were included as moderators; depression and anxiety were included as mediating variables. Adolescent boys experienced significantly more general flourishing (β = 4.00, p < .001). There were significant direct effects of CM (p = .025) and anxiety (p = .019) on well-being, and anxiety mediated the pathway from CM to mental flourishing (CI [0.001, 0.017]). Depression (CI [0.001, 0.026]) and anxiety (CI [-0.023, − 0.005]) mediated the pathway from CM to BMI. Our findings indicated that exposure to CM and IPV impacted the likelihood of adolescent flourishing. Future research should evaluate whether and how these flourishing outcomes could be modified.

Journal of Prevention
Date Published