Witnessing violence between parents has the same detrimental effect on teen-age girls as being a victim of abuse themselves, according to a new study by Brown University sociologists: The teen-agers are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.
A study of 710 girls ages 14 to 17 who were living in two-parent families found that teen-agers who witnessed domestic violence or were the subject of violence from a parent were at least three times more likely to engage in risky sexual activity than a teen-ager who did not experience violence in the home.
“The vicarious experience of violence within the family has nearly as profound an effect on the adolescents as if they were the victims,” said Gregory Elliott, associate professor of sociology and the study leader. “Parents who say, ‘We don’t hit our kids but we smack each other around’ still harm their kids.”
Kristen Cole | EurekAlert!
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