Long-term Psychological Influence of Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is, violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner or even children. With domestic violence there is always a victim, and these persons may suffer long-term effects psychologically. This paper will explore those effects through looking at least two articles, one a public magazine/newspaper and the other a more scholarly type.

A child growing up in a violent situation can be altering in both mind and emotional states. Each of the following articles will outline some of the various ways that children of violence suffer, whether it be developing a social/general anxiety disorders or more damaging and potentially life long PTSD. For example, in the article, Symptomsatolgy of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence, by Jeffrey N. Wherry, et al. tells us that children of violence are more likely to experience more of these mental effects.; Also have an increase in the chances of substance abuse. Other articles have similar views, but how similar and correct are the material we read?

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An article published on the Phillyvoice page online titled; Childhood trauma leads to poorer health as adults, explains that experiencing any form of violence within the home will increase the chance of poor mental health. This article also covers the adverse effects to health due to DV exposure. While this is a short article focusing on the negative effects, it also gives ways to improve lives of the victims, both adults and children. One of the ups to this particular article is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is one of the primary sources, providing quotes and statistics on the DV issues. The downside is, because of the article length, there is not too much to go off of to verify all information provided.

Another article titled, Symptomatology of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence, speaks about the way domestic violence or the experience of violence at a young age will most diffidently have negative effects for their future effects the mental health. This article also supports the claim that children who witness this violence tend to keep their trauma locked inside, internalizing the emotion and memories. “Results supported the association between exposure to DV and internalizing, externalizing, and trauma symptoms.” (Symptomatology of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence, 2015)

The third article is titled, Perspectives on US Domestic Violence Emergency Shelters by Amy Chanmugam, speaks on behalf of a science perspective. There may be many studies but not enough to figure out the whole effect of DV to the young. “adolescents may be more likely to physically intervene in battering incidents…” is one way a young child may see to stop someone from getting hurt, not caring that they may also be injured as well. This article also describes what all others have been saying as well, with the presence of DV in a child’s life, they are more likely to internalize their feelings and reactions that they may become depressed or develop an anxiety disorder.

In the research world involving domestic violence and the affects it has, most if not all agree on specific reactions to exposure to DV. In the three articles mentioned, the mental aspect in terms of a reactions are fairly similar. For example, in the second and third article, they both agree that a child that witnesses DV is far more likely to develop PTSD compared to those who knows that DV occurs but never sees it. “40-60% of them experience long-term problems…like post traumatic stress symptoms.” (Perspectives on US Domestic Violence, 2011). The disorder can be long-lasting and causer major damage to the child’s life. These two articles also agree that many victims also internalize many of their emotions, trying to cope with trauma. The article, Symptomatology of Children, states that at least 30 percent of children develop both internal and external symptoms. And in Perspectives on US Domestic Violence says that adolescents are a very high risk on internalized disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

Now, although these articles are saying the same thing for the most part, they also have some differences. Firstly, while they all say a lot of people within the United States live or have lived with DV in their lives, all three have different statistics. This could be because of the times the papers were written or different factors or what they define DV as. In Symptomatology, it states that 3.3- 10million people suffer. That is a large enough gap to where the other two articles numbers may fit. Perspectives on US, claims 15.5 million people fall victim to DV, while that is differently more specific, it is still a far off from what the first article says. Another difference is the amount of emphasis places on PTSD, which is one of the common effects of long-term exposure to DV. Only one of the three articles mention this disorder as an effect, stating “40-60% of them experience long-term problems in several domains…post traumatic stress symptoms.” (Perspectives on US, 2011) Also, while talking about health, both mental and physical, two of the three are stating that there is a higher chance of physical violence to the children of DV. Childhood Trauma, opening statement says, “Children who experience or witness a traumatic event in the home have a higher risk for poor health as adults.” Making it clear there is a direct line from DV to future health. And in Perspective on the US, it points out, that a child’s health may be at risk because children want to intervene when another person is being hurt.

Overall, the magazine-type article did have many valid points that were backed by the science and the two scholarly articles also did support what was stated in the magazine. So, with that in mind, I do believe that the article is reliable in terms of the negative health effects of DV. The major downside though to this particular article was the length. While it did provide good intel, the shortness of the article does not make it a good source for future writing. Maybe only as a reference to what others have said like the CDC.

Having some knowledge of this destructive act, does not mean there was nothing to learn. Reading these articles has shown that, what I knew, was correct but also that there are far more consequences to the simple experience of DV. An example of this is the physical effects. Obviously not the violence to you but more on the way your body can/will react to the stress, like loss or gain of weight and loss of appetite. Another thing that I was not aware of the number of places to find help, not only through the Domestic Violence Hotline but the shelters and programs that will remove the victims from harm. In the article, Childhood Trauma quotes doctor Anne Schuchat from the CDC saying that though we cannot reverse ever experience a child may have, but there are other ways to help. And that could start by removing them from their home life, of course trying to keep them with family. Overall, I would say any questions that I would have had were answered by these articles, even the magazine one. I suppose the only question not really related to the articles would have been, how can we do more in bringing awareness more to the tragic events?


  1. Chanmugam, A. (2011) Perspectives on US Domestic Violence Emergency Shelters: What do Young Adolescent Residents and their Mothers Say? Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.mvc.idm.oclc.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=7&sid=3d6a660a-5d61-44e5-824e-1ac881b30f0d%40sdc-v-sessmgr01
  2. Wherry J. N, Medford E. A, Corson K, (2015) Symptomatology of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.mvc.idm.oclc.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=3af4a706-1278-49e4-8e9e-7a8fd417af60%40sdc-v-sessmgr02
  3. Romero T, (2019) Childhood trauma leads to poorer health as adults, CDC analysis finds, retrieved from https://www.phillyvoice.com/childhood-trauma-poor-adult-health-cdc-report/


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