Original Articles

Childhood Exposure to Community and Domestic Violence: Prevalence, Risk Factors and Posttraumatic Outcomes in a South African Student Sample

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 21, issue 4, 2011 , pages: 535–539
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2011.10820494
Author(s): Steven J. CollingsUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


The effects of exposure to direct and vicarious community and domestic violence on the posttraumatic adjustment of 323 South African students were examined. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires, with the relationship between exposure to violence and posttraumatic outcomes being explored using binomial logistic regression analyses. Two hundred and sixty-two participants (81 %) reported that they had been exposed to some form of interpersonal violence during childhood. An analysis of risk factors for exposure to violence indicated that males were more than twice as likely as females to have experienced victimization by a community member. Direct exposure to domestic violence was the only form of violence which was found to be associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Among participants who had experienced direct domestic violence, clinically significant levels of PTSD were significantly predicted by both gender (being female) and by abuse chronicity.

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