The impact of stress and violence on children

  I’m afraid this is an episode I wish I didn’t have to record. When I launched the podcast I asked anyone who has a question about parenting or child development that I might be able to answer by reviewing the scientific literature to reach out and let me know, and someone got in touch to ask about the impact of domestic violence on children. I was a little hesitant to do an episode on it at first because I was hoping that this would be something that wouldn’t really affect the majority of my audience. But as I did a search of the literature I found that domestic violence is depressingly common and more children are exposed to it than we would like. And if you’re getting ready to hit that ‘pause’ button and move on to a different episode, don’t do it yet – there’s also research linking exposure to domestic violence dragging down the test scores of everyone else in that child’s class. So even if you’re not hitting anyone or being hit yourself, this issue probably impacts someone in your child’s class, and thus it impacts your child, and thus it impacts you. Listen on to learn more about the effects of stress in general on children, and the effects of domestic violence in particular. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.799.7233. References Anda, R.F., Felitti, V.J., Bremner, J.D., Walker, J.D., Whitfield, C., Perry, B.D., Dube, S.R., & Giles, W.H. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood: A convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 256(3), 174-186. DOI: 10.1007/s00406-005-0624-4 Carrell, S.E., & Hoekstra, M.L. (2009). Externalities in the classroom: How children exposed to domestic violence affect everyone’s kids. University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Discussion Paper Series, DP2009004. Retrieved from: http://www.ukcpr.org/Publications/DP2009-04.pdf Edleson, J.L, Ellerton, A.L., Seagren, E.A., Kirchberg, S.L., Schmidt, S.O., & Ambrose, A.T. (2007). Assessing child exposure to adult domestic violence. Children and Youth Services Review 29, 961,971. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2006.12.009 Essex, M.J., & Klein, M.H. (2002). Maternal stress beginning in infancy may sensitize children to later stress exposure: Effects on cortisol and behavior. Biological Psychiatry 52, 776-784. Full article available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11086641_Maternal_stress_beginning_in_infancy_may_sensitize_children_to_later_stress_exposure_Effects_on_cortisol_and_behavior?enrichId=rgreq-a2830462f2af5d60e71eb7b48c03e971-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzExMDg2NjQxO0FTOjEwMjE5ODc5Mjk0OTc3M0AxNDAxMzc3NTAwNDM3&el=1_x_3 Evans, S.E., Davies, C., & DiLillo, D. (2008). Exposure to domestic violence: A meta-analysis of child and adolescent outcomes. Aggression and Violent Behavior 13, 131-130. DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2008.02.005 Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S., (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature. Child Abuse and Neglect 32, 797-810. Lupien, S.J., McEwen, B.S., Gunnar, M.R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behavior and cognition. Nature Reviews: Neuroscience 10, 434-445. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2639 Martinez-Torteya, C., Bogat, G.A., von Eye, A., & Levendosky, A.A. (2009). Resilience among children exposed to domestic violence: The role of risk and protective factors. Child Development 80(2), 562-577. Obradovic, J., Bush, N.R., Stamperdahl, J., Adler, N.E., & Boyce, W.T. (2010). Biological sensitivity to context: The interactive effects of stress reactivity and family adversity on socio-emotional behavior and school readiness. Child Development 81(1), 270-289. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01394.x. Rossman, B.B.R, & Rosenberg, M.S. () Family stress and functioning in children: The moderating effects of children’s beliefs about their control over parental confli...

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