Factors affecting resilience in children exposed to violence

SOURCE: South African Journal of Psychology
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2007
TITLE AUTHOR(S): C.L.Ward, E.Martin, C.Theron, G.B.Distiller
KEYWORDS: CHILDREN, SUBSTANCE ABUSE, VIOLENCE, VIOLENT BEHAVIOUR
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 4569

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Abstract

Exposure to violence puts children at risk for developing a variety of problems, including depression, anxiety, and conduct problems. The extent to which children's individual, family, school, and peer group characteristics influence resilient responses to violence exposure was investigated amongst Grade 6 students living in a high-violence community in Cape Town. The majority (68.44%) reported both witnessing and being a victim of violence. Both witnessing and victimisation by violence were found to be positively associated with anxiety and depression, but only victimisation was positively associated with conduct problems. Peer delinquency was positively associated with both depression and conduct problems. Involvement in conventional after-school activities was negatively associated with anxiety, and school support was negatively associated with both depression and conduct problems. No association was identified between parent support and any of anxiety, depression, or conduct problems. However, this latter finding may be related to measurement problems, or to participants' reports that they were most likely to be victimised in their homes (rather than at school or in the neighbourhood). While this study is limited by its cross-sectional nature, it implies that key sites for intervention are after-school activities, school support, peer delinquency, and home life.