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Journal Article


Catani C. Verhaltenstherapie 2010; 20(1): 19-27.


(Copyright © 2010, Karger Publishers)






The common assumption of a ‘cycle of violence’ suggests a relationship between a history of child maltreatment and the perpetration of violence as an adult. This review addresses the question whether the experience of war violence is associated with an increased perpetration of violence within the family, in particular child maltreatment. A number of studies with veterans indicate that war returnees are more aggressive towards their intimate partners. The violence seems to be mediated by psychological disorders associated with war trauma. Children in veterans’ families display more behavioral disturbances. However, it is unclear whether these disturbances are signs of secondary traumatization associated with the fathers’ war trauma or whether they are caused by a more frequent use of violence by the traumatized father. Important insights come from studies showing that, even more than the veterans themselves, the mothers remaining at home show an increased amount of emotional or physical maltreatment towards their children. Finally, evidence from families living in war-affected areas supports the assumption of a transmission of war-related violence to the family level. War, together with its social concomitants makes families particularly vulnerable to an increased perpetration of violence towards their children. In conclusion, the evidence discussed here has important implications for the treatment of war-traumatized families as well as for the prevention of further use of violence on the family level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)


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