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Single Types of Family Violence Victimization and Externalizing Behaviors Among Children and Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 27 Issue: 3 Dated: April 2012 Pages: 177-186
Lynette M. Renner
Date Published
April 2012
10 pages
This study examined the effects on children exposed to family violence.
Prior research has provided substantial evidence that child maltreatment and exposure to physical intimate partner violence (IPV) are associated with increased externalizing behavior problems among children and adolescents. However, little is known about the effects of exposure to psychological IPV and exposure to the physical abuse of a sibling. Using a total sample (N=2,572) and subsample (n=441) of children ages 3-18 years old, the purpose of this study was to assess whether cumulative types of family violence lead to higher mean externalizing behavior scores and to examine the effects of single types of indirect and direct family violence on children's mean externalizing behavior scores. Results confirmed that children who experienced any type of family violence victimization had higher mean externalizing behavior scores compared to children with no history of family violence; however, few differences in externalizing behavior scores were found as the number of family violence types increased. Children who experienced indirect types of family violence (e.g., exposure to the physical abuse of a sibling) had higher externalizing behavior scores than children who experienced direct maltreatment (e.g., child physical abuse). Findings from this study suggest that researchers and service providers should adopt a broader conceptualization of family violence victimization and increase the amount of services provided to children who are indirectly victimized. Abstract published by arrangement with Springer.