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NCJ Number: 219625 Find in a Library
Title: Variations in Behavior Problems of Preschoolers Exposed to Domestic Violence: The Role of Mothers' Attunement to Children's Emotional Experiences
Journal: Journal of Family Violence  Volume:22  Issue:5  Dated:July 2007  Pages:297-308
Author(s): Vanessa K. Johnson; Alicia F. Lieberman
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the relationships between children’s behavior problems and: (1) the quality of the mother-child relationship, and (2) mothers’ attunement to their child’s sad and angry emotions.
Abstract: The results revealed that several aspects of a child’s family environment explained variations in their behavior problems. Specifically, children’s externalizing behavior was associated with the severity of violence as well as to the current quality of the mother-child relationship and maternal attunement to the child’s sad and angry feelings. It is noteworthy that children’s externalizing behavior problems continued to be linked to past domestic violence even after parental separation. Other findings indicated that the frequency and intensity of violence did not relate to mothers’ reports of their attunement to their child’s negative emotions. The quality of the mother-child relationship was the only factor that was found to predict children’s internalizing problem behavior. These findings should be viewed as a starting point in understanding the role of the family environment in explaining variations in young children’s behavioral responses to domestic violence. Future research should focus on the effectiveness of psychotherapy with preschool-age witnesses of domestic violence and their mothers. Participants were 30 children between the ages of 3 and 5 years who had witnessed domestic violence and their mothers. Participants were recruited as part of a treatment outcome study evaluating child-parent psychotherapy in the treatment of preschoolers showing behavioral disturbances. Mothers participated in a semistructured assessment interview regarding the frequency and intensity of the domestic violence, their perceptions of their children’s behavior problems, the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder, and their responses to their child’s sad and angry emotions. Mothers and their children also participated in two 15-minute videotaped unstructured play sessions in the laboratory playroom. Finally, clinicians made three consecutive weekly visits to participant’s homes to make naturalistic observations of the mother-child relationship. Data were analyzed using zero-order correlations and hierarchical multiple regression models. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Exposure to Violence; Psychological victimization effects
Index Term(s): Filial violence; Problem behavior
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