Brain News – Study found that infants exposed to domestic violence tend to perform poorly in academics due to neurodevelopmental delays and are at higher risk for a variety of health issues, including gastrointestinal distress, trouble eating, and sleeping, as well as stress and illness.
In a new study published in the Maternal Child Health Journal, professor emerita Linda Bullock at the University of Missouri-Columbia examined the effect of multiple father figures on the cognitive development of infants. She helped implement a Domestic Violence Enhanced Perinatal Home Visits (DOVE) program that reduced domestic violence on hundreds of pregnant women.
She learned from the program that many of the abused women had up to nine romantic partners during and following their pregnancy. She also administered neurodevelopmental tests during the home visits three, six, and twelve months after birth.
According to the study findings, infants whose mothers had only one romantic partner who abused them had poorer cognitive outcomes than those infants whose mothers had multiple romantic partners and only some of whom were abusive.
“The findings highlight the variety of ways the multiple father figures may have been helping the mom support her baby, whether it was providing food, housing, childcare, or financial benefits,” said Bullock. For the mothers with one partner (the infant’s father) who abused them, it can be difficult to provide the toys and stimulation their children need to reach crucial developmental milestones, as the fathers may not have supported physically and financially or played an active role in their children’s life.
“When nurses are visiting homes to check in on pregnant women and their developing babies, we want them to be trained in recognizing the warning signs of potential intimate partner violence,” Bullock later added.
To Know More You May Refer To:
Bullock, L., Ghazarian, S., Nimer, M. et al. Children Exposed to IPV: Impact of Multiple Father Figures. Matern Child Health J 25, 1447–1454 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-021-03184-6