Advertisement

Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 6, pp 416–420 | Cite as

Health and Use of Health Services of Children Exposed to Violence in Their Families

  • Judee E. OnyskiwEmail author
Article

Abstract

Objective: To obtain baseline data on the health status and use of health services of children exposed to violence in their families.

Method: The study used data from the first cycle of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1994/95). According to parental reports, 8.6% of children (n = 1,648; representing 329,657 children) aged 2 to 11 years witnessed some violence in their families. They were compared to children who were reported to have never witnessed any violence at home.

Findings: Children exposed to domestic violence had lower health status and more conditions or health problems which limited their participation in normal age-related activities than children in non-violent families. Despite this, they had no more contacts with family practitioners in the previous year and even fewer contacts with pediatricians than comparison children. They did, however, have more contacts with “other medical doctors,” public health nurses, child welfare workers, and other therapists than comparison children. In addition, more child witnesses regularly used prescription medication than children not exposed to violence at home.

Conclusion: These baseline findings suggest that exposure to domestic violence has an adverse impact on children’s health and use of health services. As future cycles become available, these children will be followed to determine the long-term impact on these outcomes.

Résumé

Objectif: Obtenir des données de référence sur l’état de santé des enfants exposés à violence dans leur famille et sur leur recours aux services de santé.

Méthode: Nos données provenaient du premier cycle de l’Enquête longitudinale nationale sur les enfants et les jeunes (1994–1995). Selon les indications des parents, 8,6% des enfants de 2 à 11 ans (n=1 648, représentant 329 657 enfants) auraient été témoins de violence au foyer. Nous les avons comparés aux enfants n’ayant jamais vécu d’épisodes de violence au foyer selon l’Enquête.

Constatations: Les enfants exposés à la violence au foyer avaient un moins bon état de santé et présentaient davantage de troubles ou de problèmes de santé qui limitaient leur participation aux activités normales des enfants de leur âge vivant dans des familles sans violence. Malgré cela, leurs contacts avec les médecins de famille au cours de l’année précédente n’avaient pas été plus nombreux que ceux des autres enfants, et leurs contacts avec les pédiatres, encore moins. Ils avaient cependant eu plus de contacts avec ª d’autres médecins «, des infirmiers et infirmières hygiénistes, des responsables de la protection de la jeunesse et autres thérapeutes. En outre, les enfants témoins de violence étaient plus nombreux à consommer régulièrement des médicaments sur ordonnance que les enfants non exposés à la violence au foyer.

Conclusion: Ces résultats de départ laissent entendre que l’exposition à la violence familiale a un effet défavorable sur la santé des enfants et leur recours aux services de santé. À mesure que seront publiés de nouveaux cycles de l’étude, nous suivrons ces enfants pour déterminer les incidences à long terme de ces résultats.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Kolbo JR, Blakely EH, Engleman D. Children who witness domestic violence: A review of empirical literature. J Interpersonal Violence 1996;11(2):281–93.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mohr WK, Noone Lutz MJ, Fantuzzo JW, Perry MA. Children exposed to family violence: A review of empirical research from a developmentalecological perspective. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 2000;1:264–83.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wolak J, Finkelhor D. Children exposed to partner violence. In: Jasinski JL, Williams LM (Eds.), Partner Violence: A Comprehensive Review of 20 Years of Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998;73–111.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Graham-Bermann SA, Edelson JL. Introduction. In: Graham-Bermann SA, Edelson, JL (Eds.), Domestic Violence in the Lives of Children. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001;3–11.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fantuzzo JW, DePaola LM, Lambert L, Martino T, Anderson G, Sutton S. Effects of interparental violence on the psychological adjustment and competencies of young children. J Consult Clin Psychol 1991;59(2):258–65.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Holden GW, Ritchie KL. Linking extreme marital discord, child rearing, and child behavior problems: Evidence from battered women. Child Development 1991;62:311–27.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hughes HM. Psychological and behavioral correlates of family violence in child witnesses and victims. Am J Orthopsychiatry 1988;58(1):77–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hughes HM, Barad SJ. Psychological functioning of children in a battered women’s shelter: A preliminary investigation. Am J Orthopsychiatry 1983;53:525–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jaffe PG, Wolfe DA, Wilson SK. Children of Battered Women. Sage: London, 1990.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jouriles EN, Barling J, O’Leary KD. Predicting child behavior problems in maritally violent families. J Abnorm Child Psychol 1987;15(2):165–73.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jouriles EN, Pfiffner LJ, O’Leary D. Marital conflict, parenting, and toddler conduct problems. J Abnorm Child Psychol 1988;16(2):197–206.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jouriles EN, Norwood WD, McDonald R, Vincent JP, Mahoney A. Physical violence and other forms of marital aggression: Links with children’s behavior problems. J Family Psychol 1996;10(2):223–34.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Markward MJ. The impact of domestic violence on children. Families in Society: J Contemporary Human Services 1997;78:66–70.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mathias JL, Mertin P, Murray A. The psychological functioning of children from backgrounds of domestic violence. Australian Psychologist 1995;30(1):47–56.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    McCloskey LA, Figueredo AJ, Koss MP. The effects of systematic family violence on children’s mental health. Child Development 1995;66:1239–61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    O’Keefe M. Adjustment of children from maritally violent homes. Families in Society: J Contemporary Human Services 1994;75(7):403–15.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Salzinger S, Feldman RS, Hammer M, Rosario M. Constellations of family violence and their differential effects on children’s behavioral disturbance. Child and Family Behavior Therapy 1992;14(4):23–41.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sternberg KJ, Lamb ME, Greenbaum C, Cicchetti D, Dawud S, Cortes RM, et al. Effects of domestic violence on children’s behavior problems and depression. Developmental Psychol 1993;29(1):44–52.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Smith J, Berthelsen D, O’Connor I. Child adjustment in high conflict families. Child: Care, Health and Development 1997;23(2):113–33.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Attala J, Summers SM. A comparative study of health, developmental, and behavioral factors in preschool children of battered and nonbattered women. Children’s Health Care 1999;28(2):189–200.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kérouac S, Taggart M, Lescop J, Fortin M. Dimensions of health in violent families. Health Care Women Int 1986;7:423–26.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Berman H. Health in the aftermath of violence: A critical narrative study of children of war and children of battered women. Can J Nursing Res 1999;31(3):89–109.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Carlson BE. Children’s observations of interparental violence. In: Roberts AR (Ed.), Battered Women and Their Families: Intervention Strategies and Treatment Programs. New York: Springer Publishing, 1984;147–67.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Davis LV, Carlson BE. Observations of spouse abuse: What happens to the children. J Interpersonal Violence 1987;2(3):278–91.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hughes HM. Research with children in shelters: Implications for clinical services. Children Today 1986;15(2):21–25.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Humphreys J. Children of battered women. In: Campbell J, Humphreys J (Eds.), Nursing Care of Survivors of Family Violence. Toronto: Mosby, 1993;107–31.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Rath GD, Jarett LG, Leonardson G. Rates of domestic violence against adult women by men partners. J Am Board Family Practitioners 1989;227:227–33.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Campbell JC, Lewandowski LA. Mental and physical health effects of intimate partner violence on women and children. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 1997;20(2):353–74.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Statistics Canada. National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth 1994–1995: Public Use Microdata Files User’s Documentation. Ottawa, 1997.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Idler EL, Benajamani Y. Self-reported health status and mortality: A review of twenty-seven community studies. J Health and Human Behavior 1997;38:21–37.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Miilunpalo S, Vuori I, Oja P, Pasanen M, Urponen H. Self-rated health status as a health measure: The predictive value of self-reported health status on the use of physician services and on mortality in the working-age population. J Clin Epidemiol 1997;50(5):517–28.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Feeny DH, Furlong W, Boyle M, Torrance GW. Multi-attribute health status classification systems: Health utility index. PharmacoEconomics 1995;7(6):490–502.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Gemke RJ, Bonsel GJ. Reliability and validity of a comprehensive health status measure in a heterogeneous population of children admitted to intensive care. J Clin Epidemiol 1996;49(3):327–33.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Grootendorst P, Feeney D, Furlong W. Health utilities index mark 3: Evidence of the construct validity for stroke and arthritis in a population health survey. Medical Care 2000;38(3):290–99.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Boyle M, Furlong W, Feeny D, Torrance GW, Hatcher J. Reliability of the health utility index-Mark III used in the 1991 cycle 6 Canadian general social survey health questionnaire. Quality of Life Res 1995;4:249–57.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Rutter M. Developmental psychopathology as an organizing research construct. In: Magnusson D (Ed.), The Lifespan Development of Individuals: Behavioral, Neurobiological, and Psychosocial Perspectives: A Synthesis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997;394–413.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Finkelhor D. The main problem is still underreporting, not overreporting. In: Gelles R, Loseke DR (Eds.), Current Controversies on Family Violence. London: Sage Publications, 1993;273–87.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Dumont-Smith C. Aboriginal Canadian children who witness and live with violence. In: Peled E, Jaffe PG, Edleson JL (Eds.), Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women. London: Sage, 1995;275–83.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Appel AE, Holden GW. The co-occurrence of spouse and physical child abuse: A review and appraisal. J Family Psychol 1998;12:578–99.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Jouriles EN, Norwood WD. Physical aggression toward boys and girls in families characterized by the battering of women. J Family Psychol 1995;9(1):69–78.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    O’Keefe M. Predictors of child abuse in maritally violent families. J Interpersonal Violence 1995;10:3–25.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    McKay MM. The link between domestic violence and child abuse: Assessment and treatment considerations. Child Welfare 1994;73(1):29–39.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Moore TE, Peplar DJ. Correlates of adjustment in children at risk. In: Holden GW, Geffner R, Jouriles EN (Eds.), Children Exposed to Marital Violence: Theory, Research, and Applied Issues Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1998:157–84.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perinatal Research CentreUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanadaCanada

Personalised recommendations