Finding the way out: A non-dichotomous understanding of violence and depression resilience of adolescents who are exposed to family violence

Autor(en): Kassis, Wassilis 
Artz, Sibylle
Scambor, Christian
Scambor, Elli
Moldenhauer, Stephanie
Stichwörter: Adolescence; Aggression; COMMUNITY VIOLENCE; Depression; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; Family Studies; Family violence; Gender-differences; LONGITUDINAL RELATIONS; PEER VICTIMIZATION; PHYSICAL AGGRESSION; Psychology; Psychology, Social; Resilience; SCHOOL CLIMATE; SEX-DIFFERENCES; Social Work; SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS; SUBSTANCE USE; UNITED-STATES
Erscheinungsdatum: 2013
Volumen: 37
Ausgabe: 2-3, SI
Startseite: 181
Seitenende: 199
Objective: In this cross-sectional study on family violence and resilience in a random sample of 5,149 middle school students with a mean age of 14.5 years from four EU-countries (Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Spain) we examined the prevalence of exposure to family violence, and we worked from the premise that adolescent can be resilient to family violence. We expanded the definition of resilience to include the absence of both physical aggression and depression symptoms in adolescents who have been exposed to violence in their families and extended our understanding of resilience to include three levels which we describe as: ``resilient'', ``near-resilient'' and ``non-resilient'', thus responding to calls for a more fluid and paths-based understanding of resilience. Methods: Data were collected via self-administered surveys consisting of a number of subscales that investigate depression symptoms and physical aggression. The study was analyzed with a three-stage strategy using logistic regression procedures, in which regression analyses were conducted separately for girls and boys using seven steps for modeling the three resilience levels. Results: More than 30% of our respondents reported experiencing family violence. Contrary to previous research findings, our data showed that structural characteristics like country, gender, socio-economic status and migration status were minimally predictive of violence and depression resilience at any level. Overall, for both sexes, despite some small but significant sex differences, resilience is strongly linked to personal and relational characteristics and the absence of experiences that involved exposure to and direct experiences with violence. Resilience supportive factors confirmed by this study are: higher emotional self-control, talking with parents or friends about violence, seeking help to avoid violence, and not endorsing aggression supportive beliefs. Also key to resilience are irrespective of country, gender, and SES are lower levels of experience with: victimization by boys, engagement in physical altercation with boys, parental abuse, witnessing of physical spousal abuse, exposure to an authoritarian (harsh) parenting style and verbal aggression from teachers. Conclusion: From a content perspective this means that resilience is more than the absence of one or two behavioral factors. This also means that positive changes in resilience levels can be facilitated by supporting constructive personal and social relationships with family members, peers, and teachers. These results are discussed in terms of their practical implications for policy and intervention. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 01452134
DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.11.001

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