Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence and Adolescent Outcomes

Emiko A. Tajima, University of Washington
Todd I. Herrenkohl, University of Washington
Bu Huang, University of Washington
Steven D. Whitney, University of Washington

The literature indicates that exposure to domestic violence in early childhood is associated with elevated rates of internalizing and externalizing child behavior problems, school problems and delinquency in adolescence, and increased interpersonal violence in adulthood. Although the correlation between exposure to domestic violence and child behavior problems is well documented, much of this research has serious methodological limitations, including small, largely clinical samples, cross-sectional studies, retrospective measures, lack of comparison groups, and single data sources. Typically, such studies have been conducted among residents of battered women's shelters, children themselves have rarely been interviewed, and few longitudinal studies exist on this subject. The Lehigh Longitudinal Study offers the unique opportunity to explore the impact of exposure to domestic violence on adolescent outcomes using longitudinal data from a sizeable community sample with multiple data sources. We also examine gender differences in outcomes. This study builds upon the growing literature on the impact of domestic violence on children and has important implications for prevention and intervention with at-risk youth.

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Updated 05/20/2006