Study identifies protective factors that help women recover from childhood violence

Jul 07, 2011

Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to be in abusive intimate relationships and experience psychological problems such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adulthood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A University of Missouri researcher has found that certain protective factors foster resilience and increase the likelihood that the cycle of violence will end for women who, as children, were exposed to their mothers' battering.

Kim Anderson, associate professor in the MU School of Social Work, found that women are less likely to suffer from PTSD if they are more resilient, or better able to overcome adversity. In regard to childhood protective factors that increase adult resilience, Anderson found that mothers who were employed full-time had a positive influence on their children's recovery from witnessing domestic violence.

"Mothers who work full-time, even in adverse situations, create economic stability and model a strong work ethic, independence and competence," Anderson said. "This shows the importance of the bond between mothers and children and the importance of positive adult role models in the lives of children who have experienced abuse."

The study also identified risk factors for PTSD in women who as children witnessed the abuse of their mothers, including the mental health status of their mothers and police involvement in violent incidents. In particular, children of mothers who had mental health problems were more likely to develop PTSD later in life, as were children who witnessed the arrest of family members during violent incidents.

"The mental health status of mothers affects how they recover from abuse and their ," Anderson said. "Children whose mothers do not experience problems are less likely to have of their own."

Anderson says recent financial cuts in domestic violence services and advocacy programs have made it difficult to provide abused women with the resources they need to recover from violent incidents. She recommends advanced job training and opportunities for higher education to help abused women attain sustainable employment.

"Most of the time, the immediate goal is to find women work rather than help them acquire skills that fit their interests," Anderson said. "Those jobs are often low-paying and don't provide the economic sustainability that going back to school and getting a higher education would."

Explore further: Perthites wanted for study on the Aussie lingo

More information: The study, "Assessing PTSD and Resilience for Females Who During Childhood were Exposed to Domestic Violence," was published in Child & Family Social Work.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Abused women seek more infant health care, study finds

Dec 16, 2008

Pregnant women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) before, during or after pregnancy often suffer adverse health effects, including depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and chronic mental illness. ...

Why are some young victims of domestic violence resilient?

Apr 29, 2009

More than 10 million U.S. children witness domestic violence yearly, resulting in a range of emotional and behavioral problems. A new study suggests that the reason some of these children are resilient is because of their ...

Violence against women impairs children's health

Sep 11, 2008

Violence against women in a family also has serious consequences for the children's growth, health, and survival. Kajsa ├ůsling Monemi from Uppsala University has studied women and their children in Bangladesh and Nicaragua ...

Recommended for you

Perthites wanted for study on the Aussie lingo

5 hours ago

We all know that Australians speak English differently from the way it's spoken in the UK or the US, and many of us are aware that Perth people have a slightly different version of the language from, say, Melbournians - but ...

P90X? Why consumers choose high-effort products

22 hours ago

Stuck in traffic? On hold for what seems like an eternity? Consumers often face situations that undermine their feelings of control. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, when a person's sense of con ...

User comments : 0