Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence, From Witness to Victim

Topics: Domestic violence, Abuse, Child abuse Pages: 7 (2090 words) Published: March 26, 2014


Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence, From Witness to Victim A. Taylor
Psych 610
October 28, 2013
Dr. Harbin

Introduction
The phrase “exposure to domestic abuse” covers a wide range of perception. In 2002, it was estimated that there approximately 3.2 million, documented cases of children witnessing domestic violence in America (Stiles, 2002). The different types of domestic violence children are exposed to may range from verbal, emotional to physical. The scope of exposure includes more than just seeing the abuse. Family violence has an extensive history; the concept that it transcends through generations has and remains a widely received and constant topic in the family violence literature exposure expands past what the child sees or hears it reaches into the future to the long term effect (Smith, Ireland, Park, Elwyn, Thornberr, 2011). Exposure to domestic violence extends years down the road to include conscious and subconscious actions and decisions that the now, adult child makes. These adult actions and decisions could possibly have, in some cases, very negative effects on the decisions the child makes for the duration of their life (Smith, et al., 2011). There are several studies that are based on the long term effect of exposure to domestic violence. There is a need for a deeper look into the choices when involving adult intimate relationships. What are the bases for adults, who were exposed to domestic abuse as a child, when entering an intimate relationship? Some will choose to break the cycle of abuse or follow in the example they had as a child and become abusive or abused in their intimate relationships. Review of literature

The research on adults who were exposed to domestic violence as a child is limited. There are available quantitative researches but several of them do not contain in-depth accounts of adults who were exposed to domestic between their parents. Researchers have studied the issue of children who witness domestic violence and often becoming abusers or victims of domestic violence in adulthood (Cappell & Heiner, 1990). The social learning theory discusses how children be subjected to witnessing domestic violence as children brings about the same type of violence as they enter adult relationships (Cappell & Heiner, 1990). The concept of domestic violence being a learned behavior is also addressed in the social learning theory (Feerick & Haugaard, 1999). Social learning theory maintains that individuals observe the behavior of others, especially the contingencies that follow a person’s actions in a particular situation, and then emulate these actions in a similar situation (Bandura, 1977). In many cases when children witness domestic abuse between their parents, they tend to conclude that physical violence is sometimes appropriate to achieve behavioral change in an intimate relationship (Bandura, 1977). Some of the attitudes acquired during childhood because of the exposure to the violence manifest in their adult relationships and may be there reason for the perpetuation of domestic violence for both perpetrators and victims through generations (Cappell & Heiner, 1990). Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this proposed study is to learn about children who are exposed to domestic abuse and what influence that exposure has on their adult relationships. From the outcome of the study, the goal would be to develop a solution to help prevent children from going from witnessing abuse to becoming a victim or an abuser, regardless of the exposure, as adults. There are already significant evidence available that documents the negative effects on children who were exposed to domestic violence (Alexander, Mcdonald, & Paton, 2005). There needs to be more study on the adults who witnessed domestic violence as children to understand their childhood experiences and the effect it has had on the adult experiences in relationships. The...
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