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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 192594 Find in a Library
Title: Children Witnessing Domestic Violence: What Affects Their Well-Being Over Time?
Journal: Domestic Violence Report  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:December/January 2002  Pages:19-20,29
Author(s): Cris M. Sullivan; Deborah I. Bybee
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 3
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the behavioral and emotional adjustment of children who had witnessed abuse against their mothers.
Abstract: Following children for 8 months, this study examined the relationships between their well-being over time and the extent of violence against their mothers, their mothers' parenting stress, their mothers' parenting practices, their relationship to the assailants, and their treatment by the assailants. Research participants were recruited from domestic violence service programs (79 percent), a community-based family service organization (4 percent), and a social services department (18 percent), all located in a mid-sized urban city. In order to be eligible for the study, women had to have at least one child between the age of 7 and 11 living with them; they had to plan on remaining in the area for the upcoming 8 months; at least one of their children aged 7-11 had to be interested in participating; and the mother had to have experienced some type of physical domestic violence in the prior 4 months. The study provided strong evidence for battered mothers' considerable nurturance toward their children. Mothers and children agreed that the mothers as a whole enjoyed being mothers, supervised their children, and were emotionally available to them. The children in the sample overall reported relatively high self-competency and self-worth. The study bears out the contention that, as a rule, child witnesses of domestic violence have strong and positive relationships with their mothers and count on them for emotional support and stability. This finding directly challenges the practice in some areas of removing children from homes in which their mothers are being abused, since the stability and love provided by mothers is extremely important to traumatized children. 23 references
Main Term(s): Victims of violent crime
Index Term(s): Child development; Children of battered women; Domestic assault; Parental influence; Psychological victimization effects
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