marital violence and coparenting quality after separation

Jennifer L. Hardesty, Kimberly A. Crossman, Lyndal Khaw, Marcela Raffaelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Research has identified multiple predictors of coparenting quality, but few studies have investigated how intimate partner violence (IPV) affects divorcing couples' coparenting relationships. We addressed this question in a sample of 154 mothers with different marital IPV experiences. Mothers were recruited within 4 months of a divorce filing and completed two interviews 3 months apart. At Time 1, mothers reported on violence and coercive control during marriage, and postseparation behavioral (e.g., parental communication), emotional (e.g., anger), and intrusion (e.g., harassment) dynamics; at Time 2, they reported on coparenting quality (i.e., levels of support and conflict). In the overall sample, divorce and violence variables independently predicted coparenting quality. Mothers were then classified into three groups: no violence (NV; n = 74), situational couple violence (SCV; n = 46), or coercive controlling violence (CCV; n = 34). Of the 3, coparenting quality was lowest in the CCV group. While the SCV group was similar to the NV group on most divorce-related variables, the CCV group reported more hostility at separation and placed less importance on father-child relationships. Finally, patterns of association between study variables and coparenting quality showed some parallels between the SCV and NV groups. For CCV, postseparation harassment and fear were negatively associated with coparenting quality. Findings contribute to understanding predictors of coparenting quality and support the need for individualized assessments of divorce cases with attention to IPV dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-330
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Coercive control
  • Coparenting
  • Divorce
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Postseparation dynamics


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