Immediate Reactions and Long-term Effects
Children’s immediate reactions to IPV may include:
- Generalized anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
- High activity levels
- Increased aggression
- Increased anxiety about being separated from a parent
- Intense worry about their safety or the safety of a parent
Long-term effects, especially from chronic exposure to IPV, may include:
- Physical health problems
- Behavior problems in adolescence (e.g., delinquency, alcohol or substance abuse)
- Emotional difficulties in adulthood (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD)
Exposure to IPV has also been linked to poor school performance. Children who grow up with IPV may have impaired ability to concentrate; difficulty completing school work; and lower scores on measures of verbal, motor, and social skills.
In addition to these physical, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive effects, children who have been exposed to IPV often learn destructive lessons about the use of violence and power in relationships. Children may learn that it is acceptable to exert control or relieve stress by using violence, or that violence is in some way linked to expressions of intimacy and affection. These lessons can have a powerful negative effect on children in social situations and relationships throughout childhood and in later life.