Strong family bonds reduce anxiety in young people with lived experience of domestic violence

July 09, 2015

Strong relationships with other family members can help raise self-esteem and reduce anxiety for some young people who grow up in homes affected by parental domestic violence.

This is the finding of a study by Doctoral student Catherine Naughton and colleagues from the University of Limerick that will be presented today, Friday 10 July 2015, at the British Psychological Society's Psychology of Women Section's annual conference being held in Windsor.

Catherine Naughton said: "Research has previously shown that strong social bonds can act as a beneficial psychological resource, especially in times of need. In this study we investigated whether family bonds could help the self-esteem and anxiety of young people who had been exposed to domestic violence between their parents or caregivers whilst growing up."

Some 465 young people aged between 17 and 25 years (70 per cent female) completed an online survey which asked about their experiences of parental/caregivers' domestic violence, family bonds and psychological wellbeing.

Analysis showed that exposure to parental/caregivers' domestic violence was associated with reduced self-esteem, increased anxiety and weaker family bonds in young adults when compared to those who grew up in non-affected homes.

However, the presence of strong family bonds did have a buffering effect in that, despite growing up in a home affected by domestic violence, some young adults who described strong family bonds also showed increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety. This buffering effect of family bonds was seen when the domestic violence between their parents/caregivers was reported as either physical or psychological violence.

Catherine Naughton said: "Although strong family bonds can help raise self-esteem and reduce anxiety for some young people who grow up in homes affected by domestic violence sadly the majority are likely to report weak family bonds. Therefore they are unable to benefit from the psychological benefits strong family bonds provide.'

"The first consideration when dealing with victims of domestic violence (including children) should be their physical and psychological safety. That said, given the secrecy that surrounds domestic violence, it is important that parents, the extended family and service providers understand the protective effects that strong family bonds can have. This way they can encourage young people affected to maintain the inherent sense of belonging within the extended family which, ultimately, can provide positive psychological support."
-end-


British Psychological Society

Related Domestic Violence Articles from Brightsurf:

As domestic violence spikes, many victims and their children have nowhere to live
COVID-19 has left many victims of domestic violence facing difficulties feeding their children and accessing services for safe housing, transportation and childcare once they leave shelters, according to a Rutgers study published in the journal Violence Against Women.

New study shows increase in domestic violence injuries during COVID-19
There was a higher incidence and severity of physical intimate partner violence (IPV) among patients seen at a large, academic medical center in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the prior three years, according to a new study.

Domestic violence increased in the great recession
Researchers found that physical abuse in adults increased substantially, with Black and Native American people being disproportionately affected.

Mothering in domestic violence: Protecting children behind closed doors
As emerging data shows an alarming rise of domestic violence during the pandemic, researchers at the University of South Australia are urging practitioners to look beyond clinical observations and focus on the strengths that mothers exercise to protect their children from domestic abuse.

Training family doctors to better support domestic violence survivors
Women who are experiencing domestic violence feel better supported, more confident and less depressed when they are counselled by trained family doctors, according to new research.

Domestic violence reduces likelihood of mothers breastfeeding in developing countries
Mothers who have suffered from domestic violence are substantially less likely to follow recommended breastfeeding practices in low to middle-income countries, a new study shows.

Treatment for sexual and domestic violence offenders does work
A first-of-its-kind meta-study has found that specialised psychological programmes for sexual and domestic violence offenders have led to major reductions in reoffending but best results are achieved with consistent input from a qualified psychologist.

Study: Brain injury common in domestic violence
Domestic violence survivors commonly suffer repeated blows to the head and strangulation, trauma that has lasting effects that should be widely recognized by advocates, health care providers, law enforcement and others who are in a position to help, according to the authors of a new study.

Dentists can be the first line of defense against domestic violence
New findings indicate that oral biomarkers may help health providers identify victims of domestic violence.

Radiologists can help identify victims of domestic violence
Radiologists may play a crucial role in identifying signs of intimate partner violence, a type of domestic violence, according to a new study.

Read More: Domestic Violence News and Domestic Violence Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.