Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Work (M.S.W.)


School of Social Work

First Advisor

Jane Swanson

Second Advisor

Glenda Taylor

Third Advisor

Emily Jean McFadden


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of domestic violence on children. The main questions explored were the effects of domestic violence on the self-perception and behavior of children. The children at a shelter for domestic violence completed the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children and the Self-Perception Profile for Children, depending on the child's age. The children also completed a questionnaire on their views of relationships and their future. The mothers of the children completed a standardized scale that paralleled the scale completed by the children, along with questionnaires on the history of their relationship with the assailant and on the behaviors their child was exhibiting. The data was analyzed through frequency and cross-tabulation statistics, using the SPSS program. Findings showed that the majority of the children scored within the average range on the scales. The children exhibited a great number of behaviors. According to their mothers, the children had developed a strategy to avoid violence; however, their self-reports indicated that children have learned to cope with the violence by taking on responsibility for trying to stop it. Multi-generational abuse was detected. Trends of open ended questions were presented, which offered a descriptive view of the children's feelings and thoughts of their future. Profiles were reviewed of the twenty five percent of children who not only witnessed domestic violence but were also victims of physical abuse. Treatment suggestions were offered, along with recommendations for future programming and studies for children who have lived in violent homes.


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