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Effects of Family Violence on Child Behavior and Health During Early Childhood

Abstract

Looking at families where children have been abused/neglected in early childhood, this study examined measures of child behavior and health to see if they tended to be worse when domestic violence is or has been present in a family. Further, caregiver and family characteristics as well as other case factors were examined, as possible moderators or mediators of the effects of domestic violence. Results indicate that domestic violence, of the type and severity occurring in our sample, does not have a direct effect on child outcomes by Age 6, when other associated variables are taken into account, but has considerable indirect effects. There is a pronounced impact of domestic violence on family functioning, the caregiver's general health and well being, and the quality of the caregiver's interaction with the child, which in turn are significantly associated with decrements of child functioning related to behavior problems and health. Some implications of this study for research in the area of domestic violence and child maltreatment are discussed.

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Correspondence to Diana J. English.

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English, D.J., Marshall, D.B. & Stewart, A.J. Effects of Family Violence on Child Behavior and Health During Early Childhood. Journal of Family Violence 18, 43–57 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021453431252

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021453431252

  • domestic violence
  • maltreatment
  • child abuse
  • neglect
  • child outcomes