Here’s how witnessing violence harms children’s mental health

Children who report high levels of exposure to violence either as witness or victim report the highest levels of depression, anger and anxiety.

Our study with children in grades three to eight who witnessed someone being hit, slapped or punched found that 12 percent of these children reported levels of anxiety that could require treatment.

Similarly, six months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a survey of more than 8,000 New York City students in grades four through 12 showed that nearly 30 percent of children reported symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Exposure to violence can have consequences for younger children and adolescents. Samantha Dunne, CC BY-NC-SA
Exposure to violence could have other long-term impacts as well. Studies have shown how children can get desensitized to violence: That is, children can come to believe that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems and that it is without consequence. They could also come to believe that violence could happen anywhere and to anyone at any time.

Further, such children are also at a risk of perpetrating violence against others.

via The Conversation Here’s how witnessing violence harms children’s mental health