The effects of exposure to political and domestic violence on preschool children and their mothers

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of exposure to political violence on preschool children and their mothers. We explored whether these dyads are different from dyads with no known history of exposure to violence and from mother–child dyads with known exposure to domestic violence. Specifically, we explored differences in mothers' psychological status (depression and anxiety), dyadic emotional availability (EA), children's social information processing, and children's social behaviour, in a sample of 216 dyads divided into three groups (exposure to political violence, no exposure to violence, and exposure to domestic violence). We found evidence to support our hypotheses that children exposed to domestic violence exhibit the highest levels of social maladjustment with smaller but still significant differences between children exposed to political violence and children in the comparison group. As expected, the lowest EA scores were found in the exposure to domestic violence group, followed by dyads in the exposure to political violence group. Dyads belonging to the comparison group (no exposure) exhibited the highest levels of EA. These findings contribute to our understanding of the meaning of exposure to political violence, as well as sharpen the difference between exposure to political and domestic violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Union of Psychological Science


  • Dyadic emotional availability
  • Exposure to violence
  • Political violence
  • Preschool
  • Social information processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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