​Children’s exposure to violence: the underlying effect of posttraumatic stress symptoms on behavior problems

Author(s) Yoon, Susan, Stacey Steigerwald, Megan R. Holmes, and Adam T. Perzynski
Title Children's exposure to violence: the underlying effect of posttraumatic stress symptoms on behavior problems
Source Journal of Traumatic Stress, online before print Jan 2016, p1-8
Date 2016
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This article examines whether being a witness to family violence or a victim of child physical abuse in the home influenced children's behaviour problems and whether PTS symptoms mediated these influences. Data for the study was obtained from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, and included 2,064 children who were between the ages of 8 and 15 years and investigated for maltreatment by the child welfare system. Ninety per cent of children reported witnessing violence and 81.7% reported experiencing victimisation. Nearly 8% of the children exhibited PTS symptoms. It was found that directly experiencing violence as a victim was significantly associated with more internalising and externalising problems. Results also showed that witnessing violence at home was not significantly related to either internalising or externalising behaviour problems. However, the study did find that PTS symptoms were a significant mediator of internalising behaviour problems. No difference was found in the mediating role of PTS symptoms by type of violence exposure. Recommendations are made for implementing targeted treatments and interventions for PTS symptoms among children who witness or experience violence in the home.
Keywords Posttraumatic stress; witnessing violence; exposure; behaviour; treatment
Topic Children