Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 73–84 | Cite as

Cognitive Mechanisms of the Transmission of Violence: Exploring Gender Differences among Adolescents Exposed to Family Violence



This study focuses on the mechanisms through which exposure to family violence leads to aggressive behavior in adolescents who were the victims of abuse and neglect. A sample of 166 adolescents from residential child welfare and protection centers for victims of abuse and neglect completed measures of victimization and witnessing violence at home, three schemas (justification of violence, mistrust, and grandiosity), aggressiveness (proactive and reactive), and depression. The results showed that witnessing family violence is more intensely associated with aggressiveness than victimization, and that part of this association is mediated by schemas of justification of violence and grandiosity. Victimization was associated with less aggressiveness and more depression, through the schema of mistrust. In girls exposure to family violence was more intensely associated with aggressiveness.


Family violence Aggressive behavior Adolescents Cognitive schemas 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Personality, Psychological Assessment and TreatmentUniversity of DeustoBilbaoSpain

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