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Aurora magazine

Prenatal exposure to violence makes violent?

Infants exposed at the prenatal stage to violence have a higher rate of aggressive attitudes towards mothers. This is supported by a research by the professors Laura Miller-Graff and Jennifer Burke Lefever, of the University of Notre Dame.

Pregnant women are more exposed to domestic violence than others. Many studies therefore focus on the negative consequences on the progress of gestation. This study analyzes for the first time the long-term consequences on child psychology. It has emerged that prenatal exposure to violence has more profound consequences than could be believed.

Despite exposure being indirect, children show repercussions of up to 2 years of life. The children of women who are victims of violence are more aggressive, less likely to obey their mother. Nevertheless, this aggression tends not to leave the home. Most of the children analyzed have normal behavior with their peers and vent aggression only on the parent.

Most of the support systems identify the exposure of children to cases of domestic pre-school violence. Unfortunately it may already be late to avoid a negative impact on the baby, as well as obviously on the mother.

According to the authors of the study, pregnancy could be a good time to identify episodes of violence and intervene. Women are under constant control because of gestation, in contact with doctors and psychologists. Moving later, as usual, could be late for mothers and children.