Research Proposal

Topics: Child abuse, Domestic violence, Violence Pages: 16 (5106 words) Published: January 24, 2011

What Are the Effects of Domestic Violence on Male and Female Children ages 4-11? Candace Williams
University of South Carolina
Counseling Education Graduate Program
The purpose of this research proposal is to identify the specific differences in the effects of domestic violence in male and female children ages 4-11.

Justification of Proposed Research
Child exposure to adult domestic violence and its effects has increasingly become a concern for both practitioners and researchers. It is estimated that between ten and twenty percent of children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence annually (Carlson, 2008). Domestic violence refers to violence between intimate adult partners. A number of studies have been successful in linking domestic violence exposure to a wide variety of physiological, emotional, and behavioral problems manifested in short-term, midterm, and long term effects (Carlson, 2008). In this study the effects that will be examined are social skills, aggression, and self-esteem. “Young and teenage children who live in domestic violence environments may exhibit no behavioral problems; yet demonstrate other types of problems” (Bourassa, 2007). “Based on social learning theory, parents are highly influential models for their children, who are consequently likely to reproduce the behaviors they observe in their parents” (Bourassa, 2007). Research is inconsistent regarding differences between boys and girls regarding the effects from exposure to parental or interparental violence on behavior. Some studies find boys more likely than girls to display a range of externalizing and internalizing behaviors (Porter & O’Leary 1980; Wolfe et. al. 1985), while other studies find the reverse (Cummings et. al. 1999). Justification is required as to what effects (aggression, social skills, and self-esteem) of domestic violence specifically relate to males and to females. Mental health professionals, teachers, principals, and school counselors need access to information on screening for abuse, approaches to use with children, etc. When counselors are referred students for disturbing behaviors, it is important to evaluate the presence of violence at home before considering effective intervention responses. Intervention must consider how domestic violence impacts differently on children according to their gender and the different stressors present in their lives. There is not a lot of research that places emphasis on the specific age group of 4-11. With emphasis on this age group early intervention can begin. Early intervention may assist children in developing non-violent and healthy means of expressing their emotions and resolving conflicts. This research aims to strengthen research on gender differences in children’s behaviors associated with exposure to domestic violence.

Research Question
What are the effects of domestic violence in male and female children ages 4-11?

Research Hypothesis
There is a difference in the effects of domestic violence in male and female children ages 4-11.

Null Hypothesis
There is no difference in the effects of domestic violence in male and female children ages 4-11.

Definitions of Key Term
• Domestic Violence- any form of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic abuse exhibited by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. • Aggression- refers to any behavior that is hostile, destructive, and/or violent. • Social skills- any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. • Self-esteem- term used to reflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. • Child (plural: Children)- a human between the stages of birth and puberty; ages 4-11

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