Abstract

This study by Wassilis Kassis, Sibylle Artz, Ivana Maurovic, and Celeste Simoes expands on earlier analyses of the data generated by a cross-sectional study involving a random sample of 5149 middle-school students with a mean age of 14.5 years from four EU-countries (Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Spain), in which every fourth respondent (23.0%) had been physically abused by his or her parents and almost every sixth respondent (17.3%) had witnessed physical spousal abuse. Contrary to expectations, some of these youths reported no engagement in peer violence and no symptoms of depression, which meant that they could be considered “resilient.” However, when looking at other protective and risk indicators, these youths reported significantly higher levels of aggression supportive beliefs, alcohol consumption, drug use, verbal aggression towards and from teachers and use of indirect aggression, along with lower levels of social and personal protective characteristics such as self-acceptance, emotional self-control, optimism about the future, and positive relations with parents and teachers, than students without family violence experiences. We therefore concluded that while some family violence exposed young people may not engage in violence or experience depression, this does not automatically imply an absence of other challenges and calls into question our current notions of resilience.

2018-04-06T15:10:42+00:00