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Family Violence and Other Potentially Traumatic Interpersonal Events Among 9-to 17-Year-Old Children Attending an Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic

Journal article
Authors Ole Hultmann
Anders G Broberg
Published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume 31
Issue 18
Pages 2958-2986
ISSN 0886-2605
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 2958-2986
Language en
Keywords child abuse, children exposed to domestic violence, domestic violence, disclosure of domestic, posttraumatic-stress-disorder, intimate partner violence, adverse, childhood experiences, domestic violence, poly-victimization, mental-health, community violence, behavior problems, national sample, physical abuse, Criminology & Penology, Family Studies
Subject categories Psychology


Among children visiting child and adolescent mental health care (CAM), the prevalence of exposure to family violence (FV) is reported to exceed prevalence in community samples, as are potentially traumatic interpersonal events (IPE) outside the family. The aim of the study was to relate CAM patients' self-reported experiences of violence exposure to their current psychiatric symptoms and to compare patients exposed to violence with patients who reported no exposure. We asked 305 consecutive 9- to 17-year-old patients in CAM about their current and previous exposure to violence in and outside of the family. Prevalence of exposure to any kind of violence was 67%. Reported exposures were 19% to IPE, 21% to FV, and 27% to both. Children exposed to both FV and IPE were more negatively affected by the events than children exposed to FV or IPE only. Children in the FV + IPE group reported more mental health symptoms than those in the no violence (33%) group. In general, IPE was related to the outcome measures only in combination with FV. Degree of violence exposure seemed to have a dose-response relationship with the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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