The Effects of Child Abuse and Exposure to Domestic Violence on Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems

Moylan, C. A.,
Herrenkohl, T. I.,
Sousa, C.,
Tajima, E. A.,
Herrenkohl, R. C.,
Russo, M. J.
Published: January, 2010
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Journal of Family Violence
Volume: 25

Issue: 1

These authors examined the effects of child abuse and domestic violence exposure in childhood on adolescent internalizing and externalizing behaviors. They used data from the Lehigh Longitudinal Study, a prospective study of 457 youth addressing outcomes of family violence and resilience in individuals and families. Results show that child abuse, domestic violence, or both in combination (i.e., dual exposure) increased a child’s risk for internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in adolescence. Children with dual exposure were more consistently at risk for the entire range of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems that those with either type of single exposure. After accounting for risk factors associated with additional stressors in the family and surrounding environment, only children with dual exposure had an elevated risk of the tested outcomes compared to non-exposed youth. In models comparing children with dual exposure to those with single exposure, only depression was significantly greater in the dual exposure group after accounting for other risks. The effects of exposure for boys and girls were statistically comparable. Modified Author Abstract.

Correspondence to: Carrie A. Moylan, MSW, University of Washington, School of Social Work, 4101 15th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105; Telephone: (206) 543-5640, Fax: (206) 543-1228, E-mail:, Website:
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