Megan Holmes, assistant professor of social work at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, said that people may think children that young are passive and unaware, but they pay attention to what's happening around them.
Holmes said researchers know the impact of recent exposure to violence, but little information has been available about the long-term effect from the early years of life.
Holmes analyzed the behaviour of 107 children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) in their first three years but never again after age 3. The outcomes of those children were compared to 339 children who were never exposed.
Those studied were from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), which included children reported to Child Protective Services for abuse or neglect. The children's behaviour was followed four times over the course of 5 years.
Holmes's research examined the timing, duration and nature of their exposure to violence and how it affected aggressive behaviour.
Analyzing aggressive behaviours, Holmes saw no behavioural differences between those who did or did not witness violence between the ages of 3 and 5, but children exposed to violence increased their aggression when they reached school age. And the more frequently IPV was witnessed, the more aggressive the behaviours became.
Meanwhile, children never exposed to IPV gradually decreased in aggression.
The findings have been published in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
--ANI (Posted on 19-06-2013)