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Interventions to Reduce Parental Substance Use, Domestic Violence and Mental Health Problems, and Their Impacts Upon Children’s Well-Being: A Systematic Review of Reviews and Evidence Mapping

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon BarrettORCiD, Dr Cassey Muir, Dr Simon Hackett, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD, Dr Ruth McGovernORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2023.Introduction: Children exposed to parental intimate partner violence and abuse, mental illness, and substance use experience a range of problems which may persist into adulthood. These risks often co-occur and interact with structural factors such as poverty. Despite increasing evidence, it remains unclear how best to improve outcomes for children and families experiencing these adversities and address the complex issues they face. Aims and Methods: Systematic review of systematic reviews. We searched international literature databases for systematic reviews, from inception to 2021, to provide an evidence overview of the range and effectiveness of interventions to support children and families where these parental risk factors had been identified. Results: Sixty-two systematic reviews were included. The majority (n = 59) focused on interventions designed to address single risk factors. Reviews mostly focused on parental mental health (n = 38) and included psychological interventions or parenting-training for mothers. Only two reviews assessed interventions to address all three risk factors in combination and assessed structural interventions. Evidence indicates that families affected by parental mental health problems may be best served by integrated interventions combining therapeutic interventions for parents with parent skills training. Upstream interventions such as income supplementation and welfare reform were demonstrated to reduce the impacts of family adversity. Conclusion: Most intervention approaches focus on mitigating individual psychological harms and seek to address risk factors in isolation, which presents potentially significant gaps in intervention evidence. These interventions may not address the cumulative impacts of co-occurring risks, or social factors that may compound adversities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barrett S, Muir C, Burns S, Adjei N, Forman J, Hackett S, Hirve R, Kaner E, Lynch R, Taylor-Robinson D, Wolfe I, McGovern R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Trauma, Violence, and Abuse

Year: 2023

Volume: 25

Issue: 1

Pages: 393-412

Online publication date: 15/02/2023

Acceptance date: 02/04/2022

Date deposited: 06/03/2023

ISSN (print): 1524-8380

ISSN (electronic): 1552-8324

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/15248380231153867


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