who witness their mothers being abused can experience
a variety of behavior problems, including anxiety,
withdrawal, depression, and aggression, say researchers
from the University of Texas-Houston Medical School
in Houston, Texas.
Researchers surveyed 258 mothers who had been
abused and 72 nonabused mothers as part of a study
on treatment of abused women. All of the moms
had kids between the ages of 18 months and 18
years old. Mothers noted the types of assaults
that had occurred within the past 12 months, and
they completed a comprehensive survey of their
children's behavior. The child behavior survey
asked questions about internalizing behaviors,
such as anxiety and depression, withdrawal, and
physical complaints like headaches or stomachaches.
Mothers also reported whether their children showed
externalizing behaviors, such as aggression, attention
problems, or rule breaking.
Children of abused moms had more internalizing
problems, more externalizing problems, and more
behavior problems overall than children of nonabused
moms. These behaviors, especially depression,
withdrawal, and anxiety, place a child at higher
risk for suicide.
What This Means to You: A child who is exposed
to domestic violence is at risk for behavioral
problems, even if he or she isn't directly being
abused. Both children and parents in abusive families
need help. If you are being abused, call (800)
799-7233 to reach the National Domestic Violence
Hotline or talk to your doctor or your child's
doctor about what to do.
to The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic