skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 202077 Find in a Library
Title: Domestic Violence and Children's Adjustment: A Review of Research (From The Effects of Intimate Partner Violence on Children, P 11-45, 2003, Robert A. Geffner, Robyn S. Igelman, and Jennifer Zellner, eds. -- See NCJ-202075)
Author(s): Judee E. Onyskiw
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 35
Sponsoring Agency: Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press
Binghamton, NY 13904-1580
Sale Source: Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press
10 Alice Street
Binghamton, NY 13904-1580
United States of America
Type: Literature Review
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reviews research on the effects of witnessing domestic violence on children's adjustment, behavior, functioning, and development.
Abstract: The literature review summarizes the empirical evidence obtained from the research, highlights important methodological and theoretical challenges in this research field, and offers recommendations for future research. The review encompasses 47 studies that were published in the last two decades. There were inconsistent findings among the early research studies, but the standardized measures in more recent studies, along with the use of comparison groups of children and more sophisticated data analysis techniques, have produced more consistency in recent findings. Study results generally indicate that children exposed to violence between their parents have more emotional and behavioral problems, less social and cognitive competence, and more health problems than children not exposed to such violence. Children's coping responses when witnessing domestic violence tend to vary according to several factors, including the child's age, gender, and whether the child is also being abused by parents. Among the methodological issues that must be addressed in future research are the need to control for child abuse as a factor either by screening children during recruitment and excluding abused children, or by controlling for the effects of direct victimization in the statistical phase of the study. Measurement and theoretical issues must also be modified in future research. The author suggests that future research study nonshelter samples of children exposed to domestic violence, focus on the effects of children's exposure to interparental verbal and other forms of aggression, and involve longitudinal research that identifies the effects of domestic violence on children's long-term adjustment as well as the factors that may ameliorate or exacerbate children's adjustment outcomes. A table summarizes the methodology and findings of each study. 87 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child development; Child emotional abuse and neglect; Domestic assault; Ego development; Marital problems; Moral development; Psychological victimization effects
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.