Violence exposure as a predictor of internalizing and externalizing problems among children of substance abusers

J Pediatr Nurs. 2013 Jul-Aug;28(4):340-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Dec 20.


We explore the associations between exposure to conflict and crime in the home and community, and child anxiety and self-control problems among 60 children whose mothers were in treatment for substance abuse problems. Experiences with violence and crime were widespread, with many children exposed to multiple incidents. Approximately one-third (35.5%) of children exhibited clinically elevated anxiety. Controlling for other potential predictors, both children's exposure to violence and the number of years the mother had been using substances predicted higher anxiety in children, while only exposure to violence predicted problems in self-control. Results highlight the importance of screening for violence exposure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Welfare*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Mother-Child Relations / psychology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Self Concept
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data