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Childhood Exposure to Violent Parents Raises Depression Risk

Witnessing conjugal violence increases risk of similar behavior in adulthood

FRIDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who were exposed to parental violence during childhood are more likely to have mental health problems and become violent spouses and parents themselves, according to a study published online on May 28 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Christelle Roustit, M.D., of INSERM-Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, and colleagues conducted a study of 3,023 French adults who were interviewed at home about their exposure to parental violence towards each other and towards children, alcohol dependence, attempted suicide and depression.

Exposure to interparental violence during childhood raised the risk of depression in adulthood 1.44 times compared with those without such exposure, and also raised the risk of conjugal violence 3.17 times, maltreatment of children 4.75 times, and alcohol dependence 1.75 times, the scientists discovered.

"Our study sought to demonstrate the potential harm of interparental violence to children for their future adulthood life, and this independently of other forms of domestic violence and related psychosocial risks," the authors conclude. "Such a demonstration warrants further research studies so that these consequences become a cornerstone of any risk-benefit analysis of screening interventions towards intimate partner violence."

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