You are here: Home » Health » News
Business Standard

Study finds witnessing abuse of sibling can lead to mental health issues

A new study showed that children who witness the abuse of a brother or sister by a parent can be just as traumatised as those witnessing violence by a parent against another parent

Topics
Mental health | family

ANI 

mental health

A new study from the University of New Hampshire showed that children who witness the abuse of a brother or sister by a parent can be just as traumatised as those witnessing violence by a parent against another parent.

According to the study, such exposure is associated with issues like depression, anxiety and anger.

The findings of the study were published in the journal 'Child Abuse and Neglect'.

"When we hear about exposure to violence, we usually think about someone being the victim of direct physical abuse or witnessing spousal assault," said Corinna Tucker, professor of human development and studies.

"But many children witness abuse of a sibling without being a direct victim and it turns out we should be thinking more about these dynamics when we tally the effects of violence exposure," added Tucker.

In their study, the researchers used the combined data from three national surveys to look more closely at the experiences of over 7000 children between the ages of one month to 17 years old.

This included any incident in which a child saw a parent hit, beat, kick or physically hurt (not including spanking) a sibling in their household over the course of their lifetime. Of the 263 (3.7 per cent) youth who had been exposed to parental abuse against a sibling (EPAS), more witnessed abuse by fathers (70 per cent) than mothers.

Exposure was greatest for boys and adolescents and for those whose parents had some, but not completed, college education. It was lowest in families with two biological or adoptive parents. Rates did not differ by race or ethnicity. Youth exposed to EPAS showed higher levels of mental distress like anger, anxiety and depression.

"In some families, EPAS may be part of a larger family climate of violence," said Tucker.

Tucker added, "As more family members are exposed to violence in the household, there can be less emotional security among family members and less opportunities for children to observe, learn and practice healthy responses to stress."

Researchers said that this study highlights the unique contribution of EPAS to feelings of fear and distress in youth.

They hope it will broaden the thinking around domestic violence to recognize EPAS as a form of indirect exposure and calls for practical and clinical applications like intervening by asking siblings about their exposure to the violence, increased education and encouragement for parents, especially fathers and offering ways for exposed children to help by supporting siblings and feeling safe telling another adult.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, September 17 2021. 11:56 IST