Kim Anderson, associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Social Work, found women are less likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder if they are more resilient, or better able to overcome adversity.
Anderson also found mothers who were employed full time had a positive influence on their children's recovery from witnessing domestic violence.
"Mothers who work full time, even in adverse situations, create economic stability and model a strong work ethic, independence and competence," Anderson said in a statement. "This shows the importance of the bond between mothers and children and the importance of positive adult role models in the lives of children who have experienced abuse."
In addition, children of mothers who had mental health problems were more likely than others to develop PTSD later in life, as were children who witnessed the arrest of family members during violent incidents, Anderson said.
"The mental health status of mothers affects how they recover from abuse and their parenting style," Anderson says. "Children whose mothers do not experience mental health problems are less likely to have mental health problems of their own."
The finding are published in the journal Child & Family Social Work.