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Group Interventions for Children At-Risk From Family Abuse and Exposure to Violence: A Report of a Study (From The Effects of Intimate Partner Violence on Children, P 203-236, 2003, Robert A. Geffner, Robyn S. Igelman, and Jennifer Zellner, eds. -- See NCJ-202075)

NCJ Number
Janet R. Johnston
Date Published
34 pages
This paper describes the rationale and content of a therapeutic curriculum designed for groups of children from highly conflicted and violent families to be implemented in family agency and school settings; preliminary data on the effectiveness of the curriculum are also presented.
On average, seven children attended each group series. Each series was composed of 10 weekly meetings each 90 minutes long, at the family agency sites. At the school sites, the meetings occurred over one semester (15 weeks), with each almost 1 hour long. The groups were usually led by two clinicians. Attendance at parent groups varied widely across settings and over time, with about one-half of the parents participating at least once during the series. Children were assessed at baseline and again at the end of the group intervention by the group clinicians/leaders. They were also assessed at baseline and at a 6-month follow-up by parents and teachers, using standardized measures of adjustment. Data for 223 children (ages 5-14 years, most of whom were from single-parent, indigent, ethnic minority families) who participated in the study showed that the majority had been exposed to multiple types of stressful and traumatic events. The absence of a control group made it difficult to determine the extent to which the positive outcomes could be attributed to the group intervention; however, a preassessment and postassessment of the children's behavioral problems and social competence showed significant improvement in the children's functioning over a 6-month follow-up. The program indicated that children can be helped to cope more effectively with parental conflicts through interventions that improve the range of information, skills, and experience they will need to cope positively in a violent family environment. 5 tables and 52 references