Parent- and Sibling-Directed Aggression in Children of Domestic Violence Victims

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Abstract

This study examines the nature of parent- and sibling-directed aggression and involvement in other victimization among children living with female caregivers in a domestic violence shelter. Caregivers were interviewed about their children's (N = 79; Mage = 9.0 years) parent- and sibling-directed aggression. Physical and verbal aggression and emotional blackmail were the most common forms of aggression against caregivers. Physical and verbal aggression were most common against siblings. No age or gender differences in aggression characteristics were found. A large minority of children displayed both parent- and sibling-directed aggression. Children exhibiting parent- or sibling-directed aggression were significantly more likely to be victimized. Findings highlight the importance of incorporating parent- and sibling-directed aggression into definitions of family violence and recognizing children can be victims and victimizers.

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