Child abuse: a multidisciplinary approach

Roberta Vallone, Francesca Addona, Lidia D'Elia, Stefano Vicari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the study was to analyse the characteristics of domestic violence by comparing a sample of children who witnessed abuse against a sample of children who suffered from it, and to outline how the traumatic experience could influence the child's emotional, cognitive and psychopathological development. Thirty-three school-age children (14 girls and 19 boys) aged between 6 and 11 years of age were studied; 17 out of 33 were witnesses of violence (WA; age Mean (M) 8.8; Standard Deviation (SD) 1.4), and 16 out of 33 suffered from sexual abuse or physical maltreatment (SPA; age M 8.7; DS 1.4). All children have been assessed by the K-SADS-PL (Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-age Children - Present and Lifetime Version) interview, the projective test of Duss Fables and the Promea battery of tests, which investigate the cognitive function of memory. The presence of behavioural disorders (WA > SPA), post-traumatic stress disorder (WA <SPA) and also anxiety disorders (WA = SPA) emerged from the study. The Duss Fables method highlighted areas of conflict. The Promea test draws attention to the performance of all abused children being average, but different learning styles emerged from implicit learning (WA > SPA) and implicit and explicit visual learning (WA > SPA). The comparison between the two samples has shed light on areas of specific vulnerability concerning psychopathological, emotional and cognitive aspects of development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • child abuse
  • domestic violence
  • multidisciplinary approach
  • school-age children
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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