Violence Exposure as a Predictor of Internalizing and Externalizing Problems Among Children of Substance Abusers

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Abstract

We explore the associations between exposure to conflict and crime in the home and community, and child anxiety and self-control problems among 60 children whose mothers were in treatment for substance abuse problems. Experiences with violence and crime were widespread, with many children exposed to multiple incidents. Approximately one-third (35.5%) of children exhibited clinically elevated anxiety. Controlling for other potential predictors, both children's exposure to violence and the number of years the mother had been using substances predicted higher anxiety in children, while only exposure to violence predicted problems in self-control. Results highlight the importance of screening for violence exposure.

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