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Childrens Exposure Of Domestic Violence And Behavioral Problems Social Work Essay

This study aims to investigate the implications of domestic violence on children perpetrated by caregivers in America. The study evaluates the behavioral consequences of childhood abuse both physical and sexual with focus on externalizing and internalizing behavior. Children of all ages can suffer form domestic violence. Young babies can suffer form abandonment in men perpetrated violence where the mother is disheartened and preoccupied with effects of the violence. Babies exposed to domestic violence may display attachment difficulties. For pre-schooling children the common behaviors may include stress, fear, and worry.

Whereas marriage conflict is a predictor of children behavior problems not all children who are victims of domestic violence develop psychological problems. Domestic violence is a common occurrence even in homes with harmony. In addition, According to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), majority of the children do not develop internalizing and externalizing behaviors even after being exposed to high levels of domestic violence.

Correlations between children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors and domestic violence are characteristically moderate in extent. Relationships between the two variables usually range between .20 and .45 but some are as high as .63 according to (Fincham, 1990). Thus, domestic violence commonly accounts for 4% to 20% of all externalizing and externalizing behaviors in psychological changes in children.

On the other hand a number of family problems are more closely associated to children’s externalizing and internalizing behaviors than domestic violence even in happy families. Anger between parents is more closely with negative child effects in distressed homes. According to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), it is estimated that 40%-50% of children exposed to severe domestic violence exhibit extreme externalizing and internalizing behavior. Notably, domestic violence is a strong predictor when the tension in the family is high and among families with poor socioeconomic backgrounds.

Tribulations experienced by children in high conflict families

Children from domestic violence families are more susceptible to developing some kinds of psychopathology than others. Among the conditions that develop in children include; Behavioral and arousing disturbances.

Children from homes with frequent domestic violence are particularly susceptible to externalizing problems such as unacceptable behavior, aggression, vandalism, delinquency and rebelliousness. According to (Cummings and Davis, 1994), between 9%-25% of the divergence between externalizing behavior is accounted for by domestic violence in homes. Correlations between domestic violence and internalizing behaviors in children such as social withdrawal, anxiety and depression are less common. Only about 10% in variance among internalizing behavior in children can be attributed to domestic violence.

Interpersonal and Social Problems

High levels of domestic violence also add to the risk that children are likely to have dysfunctional social skills and interactions. According to (Forehand et al., 1991), asserts an instance, in which domestic violence is connected to discordant child-parent relationships. The extent of domestic violence foretells teacher reports of poor communication skills and social capability in a school environment and relationship with peers might be depressingly affected.

Impairment in thinking processes

Domestic violence is connected to diminished educational performance that is manifested by poor grades at school and teachers reports in academic achievements and capabilities. High-conflict homes may also influence children’s interpretation of social situations communication. According to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), theoretical foundation holds the concept that children from domestic violent homes are more likely to view themselves and their public life in unconstructive and hostile way.

Relationship between domestic violence and Children change

Witnessing domestic violence between parents is a normal part of family life for many children particularly when the conflict is largely defined as any dispute difference of opinion or disagreement. According to (Cummings & Davies, 2002), some kinds of parental conflict might have gentle or healthy effects for the child and family performance. Nevertheless, destructive means of conflict resolution are also widespread as evidenced by the high rates of interparental dissolution and the figures on prevalence of disagreement violence and discontent in intact marriages. Exposure to high level of domestic violence increases children’s risk of for a broad array of psychological problems including emotional, social, and educational difficulties (Dunn & Davies, 2001). Children are prone to suffer adverse psychological effects as bystanders to domestic violence.

Many studies exploring the interactions between conflict and child adjustment have investigated the interaction between worldwide indices of the occurrence with which couples argue or engage in specific conflict behaviors and measures of changes in children behavior. Although, conflict is evaluated using reports form parents there is more proof that children discernment of the violence they witness more constantly foretells their adjustment (Grych, Seid, & Finchman, 1992). Many other research have concluded that there is a relationship between children adjustment and domestic violence in homes but recent studies have focused on meta-analysis since it offers a clearer signs of the strength of the relations between specific aspects of violence and different kinds of children problems.

Domestic violence in USA

Statistics reveal that there are over three million children are exposed to inter-parental violence every year with children abandonment being the leading cause of children abuse. Grych, & Fincham, (2001), maintain that inter-parental conflict has considerable implications on children development and behavioral change. Lewis e al., (1984), also found out that domestic violence always trickles over to other family process such as parenting and thus affecting children behavior during development to adolescent. Researchers on children upbringing have also supporting that parental conflicts is a contributing factor of children’s behavioral troubles. According to, (Harond, & Conger, 1997), the relationship between parents aggression and problems of adolescents show that lack of acceptance and harshness as the main contributing factors. According to, (Harond and Conger, 1997), the majority of cases of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in children are related to parental hostility.

Exposure to elevated levels of destructive domestic violence results to greater negative behavioral changes in children and their in born characteristics and a momentous psychological change. According to (Kerry, 2002), children from families where domestic violence is common are found to have more externalizing problems when compare d to those from families where the level of domestic violence is low. Kerry, (2002), demonstrated that children who were domestic violence show brutal behaviors depression including problems such as nightmares.

Children sex as a modulator of domestic violence

Finding related to sex difference in behavioral changes and their abrupt response to domestic violence have not been consistent and the function of sex is thought to play part in moderating the influence of domestic violence is a current debate area. Ethnic diversity of the samples was not interrelated to effect sizes although the effect of domestic violence on children of different ethnic or cultural settings has not been examined regularly enough in order to draw substantial conclusions.

According to (Grych & Finchan, 2001), effect sizes did not vary significantly for differing kinds of child behavioral changes problems. Although greater exposure to parental violence is associated to elevated levels of maladjustment in general, current studies propose that children living in highly conflicting and violent homes show evidence of different forms of maladjustment problems. Grych & Fincham, (2001), found out that children from battered mothers displayed high levels of both externalizing and internalizing problems while in others only externalizing or only internalizing problems and in other no particular behavior id displayed.

Conclusions about the causes of relations between parental violence and children maladjustment are limited since the vast majority of the studies done concerning the area are up to now cross-sectional. Nevertheless, research representing the stressfulness domestic violence towards children indicates that exposure to violence may as well affect the functioning of children and later examinations on the relationship between conflict and behavioral changes support the hypothesis that, exposure to domestic violence to children foretells later problems in adjustment.

Children’s immediate response to witnessing domestic violence

The second issued that has been considered is the focus on the immediate consequences of children witnessing a domestic violence. Research assessing the responses of children to specific violence in marriages have sought to comprehend how the conflict is displayed may affect the children and how other factors such as sex before exposure to violence might influence children’s response as well. In such a study children observe one or more marriage conflict and their emotional, behavioral and cognitive or physiological replies are examined. According to, (Grych & Finchan, 2001), these studies utilize analog designs, using recorded staged violence involving actors instead of the children’s parents although many have observed children’s replies to violence between their own parents in the lab or at home.

According to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), the level of anger and ferociousness expressed during domestic violence and the quality of its management are especially important for establishing how stressful violence is foe children. Other researchers displayed that what parents argue about leading to disagreement and violence can affect how it is alleged by the children (Ammerman & Hersen, 2000). For instance, Children are more threatened by violence involving a child-associated topic and are more aggravated to arbitrate in such conflicts. These researches have also indicated that always that children who have witnessed more regular, hostile and poorly unmanaged interparental violence become sensitized to the occurrence of violence and feel more distressed when they witness later incidences of conflict.

Research focusing on particular episodes has also been guided by the interest in establishing whether children’s immediate replies have inference for their wider functioning. Theoretical models proposing that being exposed to violence might have direct effects on children’s growth suggest that attention to children’s emotional, physiological, cognitive and coping responses may offer important relationship why early exposure of children to domestic violence affects them in later stages in life.

The kinds of family problems which children experience in high-conflict homes.

Most researches had researched on the effects of domestic violence on children sampled in normal intact families (Katz, & Gottman, 1993). Surprisingly, there is interconnection between marriage conflicts and difficulties since the children are required to deal with the double whammy of multiple causes of stress in the family including marital violence (Lewis, Siegal & Lewis, 1984). Marriage problems may stature mostly in the negative impact at various risk condition on children. Typically, children in a family with a particular dysfunction like parent depression or alcoholism are thought to be an increased risk of behavioral change problems. The domestic violence associated with a particular parental dysfunction might be important but little factor is acknowledged mediate certain outcomes.

Depression among the parents

According to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), children from depressed parents are likely to develop a broad range of psychological problems. A widespread supposition is that is that these problems are caused either exclusively by the inherited transmission of defective biological structure from dejected parent to child. Some functional features of families with a dejected parent might also add to a greater possibility of negative outcomes in children which include insecure parent-child attachment and parental dysphonic moods

Conflicts in marriage according to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), is a most common forecast of particular forms of childhood problems in specific externalizing problems. Grych, (1998), suggest that marriage conflicts mediate the interactions between parental depression and children’s conduct problem’s but has minimal effect of internalizing problems. Grych, & Fincham, (2001), hypothesized that domestic violence directly increases children threat for externalizing problems, while depression in parental has it first effect on children’s risk for depression.

Child abuse

Parental violence towards children is sturdily related with interspousal aggression, (Jouriles & O’Leary, 1987). Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, (1980), an estimated 40% of the children who are casualties of parent’s physical abuse are also spectators to spousal violence.

Being bystanders of spousal violence single-handedly may add to children’s vulnerability to behavioral problems. According to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), children who have witnessed parents or spouses abuse one another will demonstrate problematic behaviors comparable to those of children who are casualties of parental violence. In addition, a number of researches show that children who are both bystanders to marriage conflicts and victims of spousal abuse display high levels of parent-reported externalizing problems compared to children who are either bystanders or casualties of parental violence. Cummings & Davies, (1994), suggest that the elevated levels of domestic violence have been associated with externalizing and internalizing symptomatology for mistreated children. Therefore, effects attributed solely to child abuse might also replicate the consequences of exposure to parental violence and conflict.

According to, (Jenkins, & Davies, 2002), currently the consequences of combined child abuse and domestic violence are not well understood. According to, (Katz, Gottman, 1993), with regard to additive model of effects domestic violence could have a harmful influence on children’s behavior that is autonomous of the harmful effects of a child abuse. Alternatively, domestic violence combined with parent-child hostility may increase or potentiate children’s for psychopathology. According to (Ammerman, & Hersen, 2000), there is concurrence of interparental violence and child abuse that might have higher effects than the figure of the stressors considered in seclusion. According to (Grych & Fincham, 2001), being a casualty of domestic violence might be stressful that the adverse effects may override any deleterious effects of high interspousal conflict.

Disrupted Marriages

According to (Cummings & Davies, 1994), it has become increasingly identified that the way children operate after divorce of their parents depends on the quality of the family environment at the time immediate to the marital separation. Among the most important aspects of the family is the surrounding for children whose parents involved in divorce is the level of parental hostility. According to, (Jenkins,& Davies,2002), fighting between parents is a better implication of children’s working after divorce compared to the changes in spouses marital status and the children’s subsequent separation from a parent. Grych, & Fincham, (1992), suggest that high levels of domestic violence are more closely associated to children’s internalizing and externalizing behavior than the family structure.

Domestic violence is a prominent aspect of family life not only at the time of divorce but even before (Cummings & Davies, 1994), Children from divorced families in common have long histories of exposure to high levels of domestic violence before the occurrence of the divorce. It is estimated that as many as 11years before a divorce, children display heightened hostility anxiety, impulsivity, hyperactivity and emotional problems. According to, (Lewis, ET AL., 1984), children at high risk for developing externalizing and internalizing problems before divorce emerge to be a result of greater domestic violence in families.


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