ERIC Number: ED336713
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Oct-30
Children as Witness to Marital Violence: A Risk Factor for Life Long Problems among a Nationally Representative Sample of American Men and Women.
Straus, Murray A.
A number of studies have found evidence suggesting that being a witness to violence puts a child at risk of developing social and psychological problems. However, most of these studies used populations of severely battered women and did not control for confounding with other family characteristics. This study analyzed male and female responses (N=6,002) of the 1985 National Family Violence Survey using an analysis of covariance to control for confounding variables including physical attacks on the child, gender, age, and family socioeconomic status. The study also analyzed whether the child witnessed violence by the father, the mother, or by both. The results demonstrated a link between witnessing marital violence with various psycho-social problems including health problems, feelings of depression and stress, increased drug abuse, use of coercion and violence in marital conflict, child abuse, and engaging in violence and other criminal behavior outside the family. Results suggest that being a witness to violence between parents puts a child at risk for a number of serious mental health and other problems, and that this applies to children of all socioeconomic levels and regardless of whether the child has also been attacked by the parents. (CM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New Hampshire Univ., Durham. Family Research Lab.