Culture Post: Experiencing Parental Domestic Violence as a Child Linked to Mental Illness in Adulthood

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

Witnessing domestic violence at home is distressing for any child in the moment, but troubling new research suggests these incidents may have a much longer-lasting impact. Scientists at the University of Toronto report roughly one-fifth (22.5%) of adults who experienced chronic parental domestic violence during childhood went on to develop a major depressive disorder in adulthood.

In comparison, only 9.1 percent of those without a history of parental domestic violence showed signs of mental illness.

“Our findings underline the risk of long-term negative outcomes of chronic domestic violence for children, even when the children themselves are not abused,” says study author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Director of University of Toronto’s Institute for Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto and Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW), in a media release. “Social workers and health professionals must work vigilantly to prevent domestic violence and to support both survivors of this abuse and their children.”

The study appears in the Journal of Family Violence.

Source: StudyFinds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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