The incidence of witnessing interparental violence and some of its psychological consequences among Arab adolescents

Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: The study had two aims. First, it sought to examine the incidence of interparental psychological aggression and physical violence witnessed by Arab adolescents. Second, it sought to assess the implications of such exposure on adolescents' feelings of hopelessness, psychological adjustment problems, and self-esteem. Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a sample of 1640 Arab adolescents from Israel. Different forms of the Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS) were utilized to measure the extent of interparental psychological aggression and physical violence witnessed by adolescents. The Hopelessness Scale for Children (HSC), the Psychological Adjustment Scale (PAS), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) were used to measure the above-mentioned psychological states. Results: The results indicate that Arab adolescents witness high rates of psychological aggression and physical violence between their parents. Furthermore, regression and multiple regression analyses revealed that significant amounts of the variance in adolescents' hopelessness, psychological adjustment problems, and low self-esteem are explained by witnessing different patterns of interparental psychological aggression and physical violence, beyond the amounts of variance in these criterion variables that can be attributed to some sociodemographic characteristics of the adolescents, their parents, and families. Conclusions: The results provided strong support for the hypothesis that witnessing interparental aggression and violence has a strong detrimental impact on adolescents' psychological states. Furthermore, the results emphasize the need for further research into the effects of witnessing other patterns of psychological aggression and physical violence in adolescents' nuclear and extended families. It would also be worthwhile to investigate the risk factors that predispose violence in the family and the consequences of those factors.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)885-907
Number of pages23
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume25
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the Warburg Endowment Fund, the Milton Rosenbaum Fund, and the National Council for the Child, Jerusalem, Israel.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Arab society
  • Domestic violence
  • Family violence
  • Psychological effects
  • Witnessing interparental violence

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