The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Powerful Essays
How does domestic violence between parents and parental figures affect the children who witness it? This is a question often asked by Sociologists and Psychologists alike. There have been studies that prove that children who witness domestic inter-parental violence experience mental health problems, issues with gender roles, substance abuse, the committing of crimes and suicide/suicide attempts later in their lives. This paper will explore all five of these 'effects' of domestic violence on children and show that there is evidence of a clear relationship in which increasing parental violence is associated with increasing outcome risks (Fergusson & Horwood, 1998, p.8).

When a child witnesses domestic abuse it can have many different effects on the child. From my research I found that one of the most common effects on the child were mental health problems. In one study, conducted in New Zealand, young people that reported high levels of exposure to inter-parental violence had elevated rates of mental health problems (Fergusson & Horwood, 1998, p.1). Some of the least severe mental health problems included anxiety, inability to focus, and nightmares (Brescoll & Graham-Bermann, 2000, p.2). But these problems, which appear to be less severe, can also be the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Brescoll & Graham-Bermann, 2000, p.2). In a study conducted in 2001 the results indicated that higher levels of symptoms indicative of post traumatic stress were associated with children who have witnessed domestic violence (Hill & Nabors & Reynolds & Wallace & Weist, 2001, p.1). ?Children who have witnessed domestic violence are more likely to develop symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; that is, high levels of an...

... middle of paper ...

... The Journal of the American Medical Association, 286, Retrieved February 10, 2002, from Expanded Academic ASAP database.

Brescoll, V., & Graham, S.A. (2000). Gender Power and Violence: Assessing the Family Stereotypes of the Children of Batters. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 600- 612. Retrieved February 13, 2002, from PsycARTICLES database.

Fergusson, D.M., & Horwood, L.J. (1998). Exposure to Interparental Violence in Childhood and Psychosocial Adjustment in Young Adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 339-357. Retrieved February 17, 2002, from Science Direct database.

Hill, T.F., & Nabors, L.A., & Reynolds, M.W., & Wallace, J., & Weist, M.D. (2001). The Relationship between Gender, Depression, and Self-Esteem in Children who have Witnesses Domestic Violence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 25, 1201-1206. Retrieved February 12, 2002, from Science Direct.
Get Access