Title

The link between family violence in childhood and internalizing and externalizing problems in later life among college students in China: attachment as a mediator

Publication Date

1-2-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Social Work

Publication Title

Social Work in Mental Health

Volume

18

Issue

1

DOI

10.1080/15332985.2019.1676365

First Page

39

Last Page

54

Abstract

Relatively limited information about the relationship between family violence in childhood, attachment, and mental health problems in later life exits in mainland China. Given the growing demand for recognition of the international aspects of social work, this study examines the relationship between witnessing interparental violence, the experience of childhood abuse and mental health problems among college students in mainland China, and the role of attachment in this relationship. By utilizing a retrospective exploratory quantitative research design, 236 college students were recruited from one university in Beijing, China. Participants completed a series of questionnaires inquiring about their past experiences with childhood maltreatment and witnessing interparental violence measured by the Conflict Tactics Scale (Couple and Parent–Child Forms), adult attachment in current close relationships measured by the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, and internalizing and externalizing mental health problems measured by Achenbach’s Adult Behavior Checklist. Results show that family violence, especially witnessing interparental psychological violence, has a significant relationship to mental health problems in later life, and insecure attachment works as a mediator in this relationship. The findings suggest strong global attention and action to build and nourish a violence-free and healthy family environment.

Funding Number

17SRC023

Keywords

attachment, child abuse, college students in Mainland China, mental health, Witnessing marital violence

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