Parental Family Violence and Mental Health among parents and their offspring in the Southern Province, Rwanda

  • Thérèse Uwitonze Department of Clinical Psychology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda
  • Japhet Niyonsenga Department of Clinical Psychology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda
  • Emmanuel Habumugisha Rwanda National Commission for Children, Kigali, Rwanda
  • Ignatiana Mukarusanga Department of Clinical Psychology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda
  • Jean Mutabaruka Department of Clinical Psychology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda
Keywords: Family Violence, mental disorders, parents and offspring

Abstract

Background

Children who witness violence between parents have an elevated risk of developing mental disorders as well as being victims or perpetrator of family violence (FV) in their future relationships when compared with children from non-violent family.

Objectives

To assess links between both parental FV and mental disorders, and mental disorders in their offspring.

Methods

One hundred and thirty eight (138) participants dispatched in two categories: spouses/partners (N: 89; 40 Males) and offspring (N: 49; 20 Males) have been recruited from eight District Police Unities (DPU) of the Rwandan Southern Province to participate in this cross-sectional study during a 7 months period. This study used the student “t” to examine the links between parental FV and mental disorders in offspring.

Results

Parental FV was linked with PTSD, psychopathic and addiction behavior symptoms in offspring. Parental anxious attachment was linked with anxiety and addiction behavior symptoms in offspring and the risk of being perpetrator or victims of FV.  Parental avoidant attachment was linked with depression symptoms in offspring. Further, both parental low self-esteem and PTSD were linked with depression and PTSD symptoms in offspring.

Conclusion

The results indicate that FV and mental disorders experienced by parents seem to affect offspring’s mental health and generate specific mental disorders. Therefore, the intervention programs should focus on the treatment of both parental and children mental disorders.

Rwanda J Med Health Sci 2020;3(3):291-314

Published
2020-12-30
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 2616-9827
print ISSN: 2616-9819