Social networks in homes help preschool children who see domestic violence

March 21, 2014 by Jared Wadley

Having adult family members in the home can buffer the risk of stress and depression for preschool children who witness domestic violence, a new University of Michigan study found.

Children ages 4-6 exposed to male-to-female can suffer from many psychological problems. The from stable in-home family members can help cope with these stressful, violent matters, said Laura Miller, the study's lead author who conducted the research while in the University of Michigan Clinical Science program.

Miller, now an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, said given the high risk of children exposed to domestic violence, social support may be particularly important to the adaptive adjustment of these children.

"Positive adult role model can help children learn healthy ways of coping with emotions," she said.

The findings appear in the current issue of the Journal of Family Issues.

The study, whose principal investigator is Sandra Graham-Bermann, U-M professor of psychology and women's studies, included 120 children in southeast Michigan and southern Ontario exposed to domestic violence in the past two years.

Household monthly income was less than $1,400, and about 53 percent of the women had used emergency shelters for abused women in the past. The research also evaluated mothers for depression and trauma.

Respondents answered questions about how often they were abused (physical assault, sexual coercion, psychological aggression) in the last year. They also were asked about their child's behavior following exposure to domestic violence and any other potentially traumatic events.

Mothers reported an average in-home social network size of three people, not including the preschooler. These individuals had a significant relationship with the child. The results indicate that larger in-home networks lead to fewer problems for a child coping with witnessing the violence.

Explore further: Preschool children at risk for stress after seeing domestic violence and another traumatic event

Related Stories

Preschool children at risk for stress after seeing domestic violence and another traumatic event

August 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Preschool children exposed to domestic violence and additional traumatic events are at increased risk for developing traumatic stress disorder, a new University of Michigan study shows.

Study finds babies witnessing violence show aggression later in school

June 17, 2013
Aggression in school-age children may have its origins in children 3 years old and younger who witnessed violence between their mothers and partners, according to a new Case Western Reserve University study.

Primary care needs to 'wake-up' to links between domestic abuse and safeguarding children

March 6, 2014
Researchers looking at how healthcare professionals deal with domestic violence cases have identified that GPs, practice nurses and practice managers are uncertain about how to respond to the exposure of children to domestic ...

Study looks at the impact of violence on children

February 13, 2013
It's not how much violence a child is exposed to that can create emotional and behavioral problems in life. It's exposure to a variety of different types of violence.

Parental stress, domestic violence may affect kids' development, study says

November 8, 2013
(HealthDay)—New research suggests that children who are exposed to domestic violence and depressed or anxious parents are more likely to lag in developing language, motor and social skills.

Recommended for you

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

November 20, 2017
Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.