Domestic violence and risk for mental health in childhood and adolescence.


Literature shows that experiencing domestic violence in childhood and young adulthood is a risk for the development of psychopathology. This study used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and found a prevalence of 65.5% of possibility of mental health problems in children and adolescents (4-16 years old) who were victims of domestic violence followed in Referral Services in a Brazilian city. The result found was considered high when compared to the general population. Domestic violence was observed as a risk factor for mental health problems among the studied children and adolescents, aggravated by caregivers’ alcoholism or unemployment. No effective protective factors were found, mainly regarding the protection network. These results indicate the need for reassessing the effectiveness of specific programs in the areas of mental health and domestic violence.