What determines the severity of these effects?


What determines the severity of these effects?

In general, a child’s response will be more intense based on the severity of the danger and the child’s proximity to it. For example, the child who is upstairs sleeping during an assault but then sees a bruise on Mommy’s face the next morning will probably be less affected than a child who was held in his mother’s arms while she was being attacked. The child’s subjective perception of threat is also very important. For example, imagine that a perpetrator waved a knife around but never physically touched his partner. The partner understood that the knife was unlikely to be used. Their young daughter who saw the knife waving in the air, however, was terrified. She plays back the incident with the knife and is afraid to even go into the kitchen where the knife is kept. Her perspective of danger is very different than the out look of her parents.

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