Resilience and psychopathology in children exposed to family violence


Little research exists on how young children cope with traumatic events, including exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV). Available research reveals that many young children who witness IPV suffer greater adjustment problems than non-exposed children, while others appear to fare well despite violence exposure. Taking a developmental psychopathology perspective, this review seeks to consolidate current research on the impact of IPV exposure, focusing on relevant developmental domains of the preschool years. Specifically, it addresses the psychological functioning of preschool children following IPV exposure, including problematic internalizing and externalizing behaviors, as well as posttraumatic stress. This review also explores cognitive and physical functioning following exposure to interpersonal violence, as well as the socio-emotional consequences of witnessing violence. Following an examination of the impact of IPV exposure on preschool children, this review evaluates resilient coping and those children who seem to function well despite witnessing violence in the home. Finally, potential future research directions, as well as clinical implications, are suggested to provide a complete picture of the role IPV exposure plays in young children's development. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Title

Aggression and Violent Behavior