This study examines the stability and longitudinal predictors of children's self-blame appraisals among a sample of children reported for family violence.
Children aged 7 to 17 years old were recruited as part of a longitudinal assessment of families referred to the U.S. Navy's Family Advocacy Program due to allegations of child physical abuse, sexual abuse, or intimate partner violence. The children completed assessments of self-blame at three time points, and baseline measures of their victimization experience, caregiver-child conflict, and depression.
Victimization that involved injury, the number of perpetrators, the number of victimization types, caregiver-child conflict, and depression were each positively associated with baseline self-blame. The results indicated only caregiver-child conflict and baseline depression predicted increases in self-blame.
These findings suggest clinicians and researchers may consider assessment of victimization characteristics, caregiver-child relationships, and depression symptoms to identify children most at risk for developing self-blame appraisals.