The Impact of Family Violence on Children and Adolescents


Javad H. Kashani & Wesley D. Allan

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  • Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry Series

    Series Editor: Alan E. Kazdin, Yale University

    Recent volumes in this series


      by James H. Johnson


      by Alan E. Kazdin

    • 10: CHILD ABUSE

      by David A. Wolfe


      by Annette U. Rickel and LaRue Allen


      by William T. Garrison and Felton J. Earls


      by Thomas M. Achenbach and Stephanie H. McConaughy


      by Robert E. Emery

    • 15: AUTISM

      by Laura Schreibman


      by Scott W. Henggeler


      by William T. Garrison and Susan McQuiston


      by Rachel G. Klein and Cynthia G. Last


      by Peter G. Jaffe, David A. Wolfe, and Susan Kaye Wilson


      by Steven P. Schinke, Gilbert J. Botvin, and Mario A. Orlandi


      by Frank C. Verhulst and Hans M. Koot


      by Joseph L. Woolston


      by George W. Hynd and Stephen R. Hooper


      by Laurie Schwab Zabin and Sarah C. Hayward


      by John R. Weisz and Bahr Weiss


      by Elisabeth M. Dykens, Robert M. Hodapp, and James F. Leckman


      by Stephen P. Hinshaw


      by Byron P. Rourke and Jerel E. Del Dotto


      by Jeffrey H. Snow and Stephen R. Hooper


      by Mark R. Dadds


      by Victor C. Strasburger


      by Joseph A. Durlak


      by Greta Francis and Rod A. Gragg


      by Robert D. Lyman and Nancy R. Campbell


      by Javad H. Kashani and Wesley D. Allan


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    Series Editor's Introduction

    Interest in child development and adjustment is by no means new. Yet only recently has the study of children and adolescents benefited from advances in both clinical and scientific research. Advances in the social and biological sciences, the emergence of disciplines and subdisciplines that focus exclusively on childhood and adolescence, and greater appreciation of the impact of such influences as the family, peers, and school have helped accelerate research on developmental psychopathology. Apart from interest in the study of child development and adjustment for its own sake, the need to address clinical problems of adulthood naturally draws one to investigate precursors in childhood and adolescence.

    Within a relatively brief period, the study of psychopathology among children and adolescents has proliferated considerably. Several different professional journals, annual book series, and handbooks devoted entirely to the study of children and adolescents and their adjustment document the proliferation of work in the field. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of resource material that presents information in an authoritative, systematic, and disseminable fashion. There is a need within the field to convey the latest developments and to represent different disciplines, approaches, and conceptual views in the topics of childhood and adolescent adjustment and maladjustment.

    The Sage series Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry is designed to serve uniquely several needs of the field. The series encompasses individual monographs prepared by experts in the fields of clinical child psychology, child psychiatry, child development, and related disciplines. The primary focus is on developmental psychopathology, which here refers broadly to the diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and prevention of problems that arise in the period from infancy through adolescence. A working assumption of the series is that to understand, identify, and treat problems of youth, we must draw on multiple disciplines and diverse views within a given discipline.

    The task for individual contributors is to present the latest theory and research on various topics including specific types of dysfunction, diagnostic and treatment approaches, and special problem areas that affect adjustment. Core topics within clinical work are addressed by the series. Authors are asked to bridge potential theory, research, and clinical practice, and to outline current status and future directions. The goals of the series and the tasks presented to individual contributors are demanding. We have been extremely fortunate in recruiting leaders in the fields who have been able to translate their recognized scholarship and expertise into highly readable works on contemporary topics.

    In this book, Javad Kashani and Wesley Allan examine the impact of family violence on children and adolescents. The authors cover multiple forms of family violence, including abuse toward spouses, children, and elders, psychological maltreatment, and the witnessing of violence. The authors convey the interrelations, commonalities, and broad impact on the child. The book is remarkable in its coverage of theory, research, and clinical and legal issues. Theories regarding etiological views, research on the effects and underpinnings of violence, and efforts to intervene to treat as well as to prevent violence are well developed. Critical issues confronting the field are raised as well, including the advances and limitations in assessing violence and questions that have been neglected in research. Many excellent topics are integrated into the discussion to place violence in context. As one example, patterns of violence in other cultures are discussed, including countries without violence. Cross-cultural perspectives are critically important in light of the different forms, prevalence, views, and meanings or interpretations of family violence. The book is broad in its scope, detailed in its coverage, and engaging in style. Current research is interspersed with case studies to convey details about the tragedy of abuse and its consequences. The book draws on the remarkable research and clinical experience of the authors on a topic that is clinically and socially critical.

    Alan E.Kazdin, PhD


    Violence within the family increasingly is identified as a profound societal problem that can exert a multitude of short- and long-term effects on youngsters and can take a variety of forms including abuse perpetrated by parents or siblings. Additionally, vicariously observing familial violence, such as spousal abuse, has documented untoward sequelae on children and adolescents.

    In an earlier paper we wrote on the topic of family violence (Kashani, Daniel, Dandoy, & Holcomb, 1992), we explained that “it is important to note at the outset that no single behavioral or emotional reaction epitomizes the abused child” (p. 183). Nevertheless, a plentitude of research has been conducted that attempts to elucidate relationships between different types of family violence, varying child characteristics, and the resulting impact of this violence on the child. This interplay of variables will constitute the main focus of this book.

    In Chapter 1, the book will commence with a discussion regarding the definition, history, and societal costs of family violence. Chapter 2 will present a delineation of various proposed theories concerning the etiology of family violence as well as documentation for these frameworks. In Chapter 3, an exploration of the impact of intrafamilial violence directed toward youngsters by caregivers and siblings will be considered. Child witnessing of varying types of family violence will be the focus of Chapter 4, which will discuss spousal and elder abuse. Chapter 5 will consider a different type of family violence that can also be extremely destructive: psychological maltreatment.

    Additionally, to provide a contrast to the current conditions in the United States, Chapter 6 will present a cross-cultural exploration of family violence. Chapter 7 will explore available assessment procedures, and Chapter 8 will examine intervention techniques. Chapter 9 will recount the “resilient child” and lessons learned from this type of youngster. Prevention strategies are also explicated in this chapter. Future research directions will be described in Chapter 10 to aid mental health professionals and researchers who address the needs of this population.

    This book will address primarily physical and verbal/psychological violence within the family. Sexual abuse and child neglect constitute other significant forms of child abuse, but these topics are beyond the scope of the current review. We would also like to note that, throughout the book, cases we have seen in our clinical work will be described to help illustrate particular points. For the purposes of confidentiality, the names and identifying data of these children and their families have been altered.

    This book was made possible by the research of numerous individuals who are cited throughout the text. We would like to thank these researchers and encourage them and future scientists to continue to address the important topic of family violence. Wesley Allan also wishes to thank his research and professional mentors (in alphabetical order), Dr. Debora Bell-Dolan, Dr. Javad H. Kashani, and Dr. Christopher A. Kearney, for their help and encouragement through the years.

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    About the Authors

    Javad H. Kashani (M.D.) is Chief, Division of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Missouri—Columbia. He is also Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Pediatrics as well as Director of Children and Adolescent Services at Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center. His research interests are in the area of child internalizing disorders and family violence, and have resulted in the publication of more than 100 scientific articles. His clinical studies in the last two decades merited him the most prestigious award in child psychiatry in North America—the Blanche F. Ittleson Award (1989).

    Wesley D. Allan (M.A., University of Nevada at Las Vegas) is completing his Ph.D. in child clinical psychology at the University of Missouri—Columbia. His major research interests are child internalizing disorders and family violence, and he helped develop the School Anxiety Project, a research and treatment clinic for children with school anxiety, at the University of Missouri—Columbia. He is coauthor of numerous journal articles on child anxiety and depression as well as family abuse among juveniles who commit homicide.

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