Social networks in homes help preschool children who see domestic violence

March 21, 2014 by Jared Wadley, University of Michigan

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

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

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.