Low-Income Single Mothers' Community Violence Exposure and Aggressive Parenting Practices

Publication Year


Journal Article

This study examined the association between maternal community violence exposure and parenting practices, with a sample of low-income single mothers from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study (FFCW) and related in-home child survey. Psychologically aggressive and physically aggressive parenting practices were measured with two subscales derived from the Parent–Child Conflict Tactics Scales (CTSPC). Community violence exposure was measured with items indicating being a witness to or victim of community violence. Bivariate analysis indicated that the intensity of community violence exposure was positively associated with both types of aggressive parenting practices. In the multivariate analysis, mothers with moderate and high levels of community violence exposure were 2.1 time and 2.4 times, respectively, more likely to engage in a higher level of physically aggressive parenting, when compared to mothers with no exposure to violence. Such rates were 1.7 and 1.8 times higher with respect to psychologically aggressive parenting practices. The findings highlight the need for expanding research to better understand the association between community violence and the wellbeing of children and families, and suggest the importance of supporting low-income single mothers who have been exposed to community violence through effective parenting programs and other community social services.

Children & Youth Services Review