Purpose: To explore the association between maternal intimate partner abuse (IPA) and their children’s health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and behavioural problem, and to establish a mediation model and investigate the mediating role of mothers’ HRQOL on this association.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 197 mothers of 227 children (112 boys and 115 girls) from low-income Chinese families. The mothers were asked to complete the 5-item abuse assessment screen questionnaire for the presence of IPA, the Chinese (Hong Kong) version of 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) for their HRQOL and a structured socio-demographics questionnaire. One of the parents completed the Child Health Questionnaire-Parent Form-50 (CHQ-PF50) and the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) to report on their children’s HRQOL and behavioural problems, respectively. The mediating effect of the maternal HRQOL on the relationship between maternal IPA status and their children’s behavioural problems and HRQOL was tested using Baron and Kenney’s multistage regression approach and bootstrapping method.
Results: Thirty-five of the 197 mothers reported IPA (17.8%). Children whose mothers had experienced IPA had lower scores in the CHQ-PF50 mental health, parental impact—emotional, family activities and family cohesion subscales, and the psychosocial summary score compared to children of mothers who reported no IPA; they also had more emotional, conduct and hyperactivity/inattention problems and higher total difficulties scores measured by the SDQ. Maternal mental HRQOL was a mediator on the relationship between maternal IPA status and their children’s behavioural problems and psychosocial HRQOL.
Conclusion: IPA experienced by mothers had significant negative impacts on their children’s HRQOL and behaviours, which was mediated by maternal mental HRQOL.