The effects of exposure to violence on young children

Am Psychol. 1995 Sep;50(9):782-8. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.50.9.782.


Violence has been characterized as a "public health epidemic" in the United States. At the same time, children's witnessing of violence is frequently overlooked by law enforcement officers, families, and others at the time of a violent incident. Although mothers describe the panic and fear in their children and themselves when violence occurs, little research or clinical attention has focused on the potential impact on children of living under conditions of chronic community violence. The purpose of this article is to present an overview of available research and clinical understanding of the effects of exposure to violence on school-age and younger children. Suggestions for future research and public policy initiatives are offered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Psychology, Child
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • United States
  • Violence*