“Domestic Violence, Risky Family Environment and Children” by Afolabi

A study by Olusegun Emmanuel Afolabi (2014) analyzes the impact of domestic violence against children on their mental and physical health. Nowadays, there are many works about the effect of violence and parentschildren’s relationships. However, few works deal with the influence of a child’s growth in the negative familial environment on the psychological and neurophysiological paths of development in the future. It is necessary to study the issue deeper and establish possible ways to solve the problems associated with this problem. In the article, the author found out that domestic violence leads to aggravation in the child’s stress response system and to a deterioration in sleep, physical development, and social interaction.

In this work, the author conducted a study by revising empirical studies on the impact of risky family environments on the biopsychological development of children. Databases were searched using keywords, followed by the analysis of the information and drawing up conclusions. Various models and theories related to the child’s relationship with different social environments, such as peers, parents, teachers, were considered. Further, the author made an analysis of the diathesis stress model, which analyzes the victim’s past knowledge (Afolabi, 2014). This analysis showed that every child perceives domestic violence differently, however, one can trace common patterns based on the child’s past (events, experiences). In addition, the authors examined the fact that a child’s susceptibility to domestic violence depends not only on the specific situation but also on the relationship with the parents. Moreover, the author found that most women who have experienced domestic violence are prone to PTSD, despair, and depression.

The author has done this with many researchers and authors who have conducted investigations about the impact of domestic violence on the child. Additionally, the author used databases such as the ERIC and PSYCHLIT, which were searched using the following keywords: domestic violence, risky family environment, children mental health (Afolabi, 2014). With the help of this, it was possible to establish those child victims of domestic violence are prone to delays and instability in the development. Moreover, children who have grown up in an atmosphere of support and kindness are more resistant to abuse. Furthermore, victims of violence are more prone to maladjustment in life and the highly-negative perception of emotional stress. Factors such as support and dynamic parenting lead to normal child development and more sustainable response to possible severities.

In this article, the author went about it using a few hundred studies that are relevant to the theme. The initial report included 2283 articles, technical reports, journals, book chapters, and presentations. The process of scrutinization of these articles helped the author to determine only a few documented empirical findings concerning children’s bio-psychological aspects of development and domestic violence. Thereby, the author was able to determine that there is a connection between three types of domestic violence: societal violence at the exosystem level, the ontogenetic level, and DV at the household/microsystem level (Afolabi, 2014). In other words, if the father abused the wife, it is more likely that the father will harm the child after birth. Likewise, a child who is abused at home is more likely to become a victim of violence outside the home (peer bullying).

The author’s conclusions were several facts that are united by a common principle, namely that the impact of domestic violence on a child is immense. In more detail, the author has found that child witnesses of domestic violence develop social, academic, and emotional problems. Although some studies confirm the child’s adaptation, the majority claim that the biological and psychological mechanisms are launched in the child under domestic violence. These mechanisms are harmful, thus, they worsen the child’s development and interaction with the environment, and they are triggered as a result of a risky familial environment. The author was able to reach such conclusions after detailed analysis and selection of information related to the current topic. In other words, the author took into account only documented studies, as well as subject statistics.

Talking about how it might have been handled differently, one may distinguish several aspects. Therefore, as it was indicated by the author, among a large number of articles, books, and studies, only a few of them were used. Namely, those that indicate the connection between a risky family environment and the biological and psychological development of the child. One may conclude that alternative sources and opinions could be applied in the future. Thus, the author could have used a different approach at the initial stage of work, namely when selecting information.

To conclude, one should mention what other research questions can be asked as a result of the findings. These include future researches aiming at identifying the degree of the relationship between psychological and biological processes and domestic violence. In other words, it is necessary to conduct deeper studies using some medical tools, such as analysis, diagnosing, and possible interventions. Moreover, one should understand the role of emotion regulation, stress response, and sleep in triggering some psychological processes in the context of a risky family environment. Finally, it is of high priority to identify strategies for a child’s crisis interventions and trauma assessment.


Afolabi, O. E. (2014). Domestic violence, risky family environment and children: A bio-psychology perspective. International Journal of Psychology and Counselling, 6(8), 107-118. Web.

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