Exposure to violence before age three may be linked to later aggression

New research published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry considers the link between early childhood exposure to domestic violence and later aggression in school, reports PsychCentral.

Author Megan Holmes, assistant professor of social work at Case Western Reserve University, looked at the behavior of 107 children who had been exposed to violence before age 3, but not after, and compared it to a group of 339 children who had never experienced domestic violence.

During the five years of the study, Holmes found that those children exposed to violence became more aggressive once they reached school age. She also found a relationship between the frequency of the violence and the level of aggression.

Holmes noted that recognizing the delayed effect may give social workers an opportunity to address the impact of domestic violence before the child begins school. 

In a news release from Case Western Reserve, Holmes said:

“My overarching goal is to contribute to optimal development of children who have been exposed to IPV by identifying risk and protective factors that will be translated into interventions.”