Why Some Kids Who See Abuse Are Resilient

What makes some children who witness domestic violence more resilient than others? That question was the focus of a long-term study by researchers at Michigan State University, who looked at children who had seen acts of violence against their mothers. They discovered that kids with easy-going natures and mentally healthy mothers were less likely to develop emotional or behavioral problems than other kids who had who witnessed violence at home.
The reason, say researchers, is that easy-going kids may be less likely to react to stresses and more likely to get support from adults in their lives. And mothers with good mental health are likely better able to help their children cope.
The findings “highlight the importance of individual and family resources to face the challenges of growing up in a highly detrimental environment,” says Cecilia Martinez-Torteya, a graduate student in clinical psychology at Michigan State and the study’s lead author. “Intervention efforts may be improved by targeting mothers’ symptoms of depression and considering children’s temperaments.” —Heather Wax

Category: Positive Psychology

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