Maternal Substance Abuse and Children's Exposure to Violence

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This article focuses on exposure to violence and violence-related activities (i.e., crime and drug use) in 70 children whose mothers are addicted to alcohol or other drugs and explores maternal characteristics associated with violence exposure. Results suggest that exposure to violence is relatively common for these children, with many exposed to repeated violence in both the home and community. Findings also suggest higher levels of exposure to violence among children whose mothers reported fewer symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and held beliefs and attitudes about child rearing that have been associated with abusive and neglectful parenting. Levels of violence exposure were also higher when mothers reported more severe drug use in the recent past. These findings point to the need for assessment and treatment for children whose mothers abuse alcohol and other drugs.