Family Violence Effects on Family Members

Statement of the Problem

Despite the fact that domestic or family violence has always been a prevalent issue in patriarchal societies, the topic has been widely marginalized and perceived as unimportant by the public. However, the development of feminism and other human rights movements gave the opportunity for the victims to be heard, thus bringing the problem to light. Ever since then, the scholars have been researching family violence in an attempt to evaluate its consequences for the family members and to develop a strategy for helping the victims.

The primary victims of domestic violence are women and children. However, it is not uncommon for the elderly to be under a threat of violence from their adult children. Moreover, family violence has a direct influence on all family members and can have many negative consequences on their mentality and social life, both immediate and long-term. The objective of this paper will be to outline and examine the effects of family violence on family members, taking into account their complexity, longevity and the possibility of treatment.

Central Question:

What are the effects of family violence on family members?

Hypothesis:

Family violence has many negative effects on the lives of family members.

Research Questions:

  1. What are the effects of family violence on the psychological well-being of family members?
  2. How does family violence affect the social life and communication skills of family members?
  3. What is the influence of family violence on the academic results and employment of family members?
  4. What are the possible methods of treating the disorders arising out of traumatic family violence experiences?

Theoretical Perspective

As mentioned above, family violence is a popular topic of study among the researchers of the last thirty years. Many sources and studies focus on a single aspect or consequence of domestic violence, which allows for more detailed research and results in decreasing the possible bias caused by the use of large samples of respondents with different backgrounds.

For example, Levendosky, Huth-Bocks, and Semel (2002) explore the influence of domestic violence on the behavior of adolescents, particularly on disruptions to the mind processes that were caused by witnessing or being a victim of domestic violence. The study focused on “the data collected on 111 adolescents, aged 14 to 16, and their mothers” (Levendosky et al., 2002, p. 206). The study found many consequences of family violence in the subjects; for instance, researchers argue that “family violence significantly predicted attachment style, [promotes] significant protective and vulnerability factors included maternal psychological functioning, maternal positive parenting”, (Levendosky et al., 2002, p. 206). Overall, the study shows why family violence is considered to have such a strong influence on both mental and physical health of the children who witnessed or were the victims of domestic abuse.

Dyson (1990), on the other hand, considers the most violent outcome of family violence, homicide. He performs a qualitative therapeutic analysis of several children referred by the school as a ‘bad influence’ (Dyson, 1990, p. 18). The results show the severe impact of witnessing abuse or even death on all aspects of teenagers’ lives, from peer group communication to academic performance. He stresses the importance for teachers and school councilors to address the PTSD in such children: “children who exhibit characteristics of resignation and passive-aggressive behaviors have the same need to be reached. They also need to be taught that their behavior is a reaction to underlying issues that need to be addressed, not simply punished” (Dyson, 1990, p. 21). He also proposes various strategies to provide effective relief for the adolescents’ struggles, such as group therapy, recreational and cultural enrichment programs, and so on.

Many researchers choose to examine the issue of family violence in a particular country to determine the factors influencing the commonness of the issue. For example, Kim, Park, and Emery (2009) analyze domestic violence in Korea through the use of a national survey. The study is focused predominantly on the violence against women and children. The researchers explain the connection between domestic abuse and depression, suicide, anxiety, and many other mental issues: “Child abuse has short- and long-term mental health consequences for women in adulthood. Women abused as children manifest a variety of mental health problems, such as suicide, depression, anxiety, and alcohol problems” (Kim et al., 2009, p. 194). Moreover, the authors argue that the traumatic experience may lead to aggression and abuse issues in the future relationship: “Numerous studies have found that childhood physical and sexual abuse by a parent is important for predicting physical and sexual violence in adulthood” (Kim et al., 2009, p. 194).

Davis (2010) aims to address the psychological consequences of family violence in his study, too. For example, he states the importance of paying more attention to the underlying emotional troubles than the physical aspect of violence: “domestic violence cannot be measured only through lethality or injurious physical assaults” (Davis, 2010, p. 46).

Finally, Farmer and Tiefenthaler (2014) explore the correlation between family violence and work performance of the women. Despite the fact that those women are in a very difficult position, their income is not necessarily affected by these circumstances: “empirical results indicate that after controlling for the simultaneity of violence and work, battered women are more likely to work than women who are not abused” (Farmer & Tiefenthaler, 2014, p. 301).

Methodology

This study will be based on the qualitative research method. The necessary data will be collected on the subjects, Saudi male and female, age 7-18. Descriptive research will be used in analyzing and presenting the results.

References

Davis, R. (2010). Domestic violence-related deaths. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2(2), 44-52.

Dyson, J. L. (1990). The effect of family violence on children’s academic performance and behavior. Journal of the National Medical Association, 82(1), 17.

Farmer, A., & Tiefenthaler, J. (2004). The employment effects of domestic violence. Research in Labor Economics, 23, 301-334.

Kim, J., Park, S., & Emery, C. R. (2009). The incidence and impact of family violence on mental health among South Korean women: Results of a national survey. Journal of Family Violence, 24(3), 193-202.

Levendosky, A. A., Huth-Bocks, A., & Semel, M. A. (2002). Adolescent peer relationships and mental health functioning in families with domestic violence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31(2), 206-218.