Psychological Functioning of Adolescents from Violent Families

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Abstract

Objective. The aim of the study was to determine the association of family violence with the functioning of the family system, psychological functioning and development of specific characteristics of the adolescents who grew up in a violent families. Methods. The study was carried out on a sample of 308 adolescents, aged 15–18, divided in a FV group of adolescents coming from dysfunctional families (n = 68) adolescents who grew up in-violent families and were exposed to family violence, which was reported and processed, and a control group (n = 240) adolescents from families in which according to the CPRS-R Questionnaire there was not found any form of violence, alcoholism or any other psychosocial pathology. FACES III Scale and Questionnaire for the examination of psychosocial characteristics of the adolescents and family (Revised CPRS-R) were used for measuring dimensions of family functioning, Cybernetic model of personality dimensions (CON-6) for conative functioning of the adolescents, Теst for reasoning images (TRI) for measuring intellectual development and the Scale of Latent Maturity (SLM) for determining the level of psychological maturity. The data were processed by using linear regression analysis. Results. Family functioning disorders caused by family violence were significantly and highly associated with psychological functioning of the adolescents: concern about family relationships (β =-.968), need for professional help (β =-.873), cooperation with people (β =.523), orientation towards the future (β =.669), latent maturity (β =.618), psychosomatic reactions (β =-.509), dissociative reactions (β =-.591), excused absence from school (β =.618), unexcused absence from school (β =-.824), memory disorders (β =-.541), night fears (β =- 722), running away from home (β =-.569), breaking rules and getting punished at school (β =-.569), conflicts with peers (β =-.460). Conative functioning of the adolescents exposed to a violent family environment showed a pathological form of functioning in dissociative, anxiety reactions and social adaptability. Conclusion. Exposure of adolescents to a violent family environment was associated with changes in psychological functioning, development of specific personality characteristics and risk of developing internalized and externalized symptoms when it came to social-adaptation, anxiety and dissociative reactions. The mediators between family violence and psychological functioning and development of the adolescents was family cohesion and disorders within the marital dyad.

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