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Can J Public Health. 2002 Nov-Dec;93(6):416-20.

Health and use of health services of children exposed to violence in their families.

Author information

  • 1University of Alberta, Perinatal Research Centre, #4510 Children's Centre, Royal Alexandra Hospital, 10240 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5H 3V9.



To obtain baseline data on the health status and use of health services of children exposed to violence in their families.


The study used data from the first cycle of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1994/95). According to parental reports, 8.6% of children (n = 1,648; representing 329,657 children) aged 2 to 11 years witnessed some violence in their families. They were compared to children who were reported to have never witnessed any violence at home.


Children exposed to domestic violence had lower health status and more conditions or health problems which limited their participation in normal age-related activities than children in non-violent families. Despite this, they had no more contacts with family practitioners in the previous year and even fewer contacts with pediatricians than comparison children. They did, however, have more contacts with "other medical doctors," public health nurses, child welfare workers, and other therapists than comparison children. In addition, more child witnesses regularly used prescription medication than children not exposed to violence at home.


These baseline findings suggest that exposure to domestic violence has an adverse impact on children's health and use of health services. As future cycles become available, these children will be followed to determine the long-term impact on these outcomes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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