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Wife Abuse - The Effects on Young Children

NCJ Number
I M Bruner
Date Published
118 pages
This study compared 20 nonabused (physically) children from homes where wife abuse occurred with 20 children from homes where such abuse did not occur to determine their feelings toward their fathers, their emotional well-being, and aggressive behaviors.
The children averaged 5.67 years old, and slightly more than half were girls. Children were administered the Bene-Anthony Family Relations Test, the Travis Story Pictures, and projective drawings, and mothers completed a questionnaire. Children from homes where wife abuse occurred showed significantly more signs of emotional distress and aggressive behaviors than children from nonabusive homes. Males from abusive homes and females from nonabusive homes responded more positively to their fathers. Males from abusive homes tended to identify with and feel positively toward their fathers, but the females from abusive homes acted as though their fathers did not exist. Children from homes where spouse abuse has occurred should be monitored over time to determine their emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological development, so as to plan the most effective social and psychological interventions for them. 2 tables, 5 notes, and 46 references. (Author abstract modified)


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