Domestic violence intimate partner violence and childhood physical abuse all constitute exposure to violence in the home When children are exposed to violence in their home especially at an early age these experiences are significantly traumatizing to them Burke et al 2011 When childhood traumatic events occur regularly researchers consider them to be adverse childhood experiences ACE Researchers have determined that when a child has a high number of ACE this can have devastating lifelong developmental psychological and physiological effects on them and even decrease their lifespan by 20 years Burke et al 2011 While poverty is a risk factor for exposure to violence at home and ACE these events can occur regardless of socioeconomic status The burden of disease associated with early exposure to violence is high and resources must be allocated to research in order to find solutions for this public health epidemic
The theoretical perspectives of childhood psychopathology associated with exposure to violence in the home come from both attachment and social learning theories Attachment theory explains that childhood disruption of detachment can occur when children lose their sense of safety and can no longer depend on their caregivers to provide an appropriate developmental environment Social learning theory builds off of the idea that early victimization in the home environment may create a maladaptive framework of future behavior Holmes 2013 Voith et al 2016 This is due to the theory that development and behavior are cumulative one stage behavior building on the next resulting in further future negative behavior Holmes 2013 Voith et al 2016 Unfortunately only one major data collection effort to determine the number of children exposed to violence has been conducted in the last decade Although this was the last major data call regarding the number of children exposed to violence in the home many studies over the last decade have been able to link adverse health effects to children exposed to violence
However the U S DOJ did have an updated study in 2015 confirming similar results It has been widely agreed upon by researchers as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics that the pervasiveness of adverse childhood experiences associated with exposure to violence at home represents a major public health concern There is a consensus that pediatric research should be focused on childhood exposure to violence in the home and should take priority over all other pediatric health issues In conclusion when children are exposed to violence in the home it can have profound effects on their development mental health and physical well being Due to the pervasiveness of this problem the American Association of Pediatrics has recommended that priority is given to research studies involving early childhood exposure to violence Future studies should focus on appropriate interventions increasing resilience and factors that may have a protective effect against psychopathology and children that have been exposed to violence
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