Studies: Kids suffer when moms abused

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Two new studies say children

who witness abuse against their mothers often suffer from serious

emotional and behavioral problems, including post-traumatic stress

disorder, flashbacks and sleeplessness.

The studies by University of Michigan and Michigan State

University researchers suggest trauma affects more than half of the 3.3

million U. S. children who helplessly watch while mothers are battered

and verbally abused every year.

Children as young as preschool age are affected by the

experiences.

UM psychologist Sandra Graham-Bermann says, ``You don't have to

wait for years to see the effects on children when their mothers are

abused.''

The findings released today say youngsters who witness maternal

abuse also are more likely than others to hit, bite and insult their

peers. They're also hard-pressed to develop good social relationships,

and may become withdrawn.

Sadness, depression, worry and frustration are also more prevalent

among children who view battering.

In one study, published in the latest Journal of Interpersonal

Violence, 13 percent of the 7- to 12-year-old children examined were

diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. About one-third reported

violent nightmares or thoughts, and half had trouble paying attention.

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