Emotional indicators disclosed during the debriefing process in the figure drawings of child-witnesses of domestic violence

dc.contributor.authorPascoe, Diane
dc.description.abstractThe purpose of this study was to identify emotional indicators (Koppitz, 1968) found in the figure drawings of a sample of child-witnesses of domestic violence between the ages of 6 to 12 years. The study conformed to a qualitative design to facilitate the collection of rich, in-depth data from the children. The study was a phenomenological examination of the symbolic meanings embedded in children's figure drawings. It was anticipated that the use of drawings would afford the children the opportunity to “show,” rather than “tell,” about distressing experiences during the debriefing process, and this proved to be accurate. Children were requested to complete a series of seven therapist-directed illustrations. Verbal commentary offered by the children was recorded by the researcher who administered the instruments. A pilot study was conducted on 3 child-witnesses of domestic violence to determine the practicality of subject compliance to the researcher's directives, and to test the ability across cohort groups to follow through on the task. Results of the pilot had a positive outcome; therefore, the study was implemented according to design. For the main research, data were collected from 24 children at each of three pre-selected sample domestic violence treatment sites. Next, content analysis was performed on each of the drawings in the series to identify the emergence of Emotional Indicators (Koppitz, 1968) in the children's work, and to note major themes previously mentioned in the literature review. As a group, the sample disclosed more than the average number of “expected” emotional indicators, implying that the experience of witnessing domestic violence by a child induces a degree of emotional reaction. In some children, this reaction is classified as a trauma response. In general, the study revealed that the greatest proof of the internalization of the experience of witnessing domestic violence was demonstrated in the youngest and minority children. Content analysis of the gender groups did not confirm a large gender gap suggestive of males' particular difficulty with experiencing domestic abuse, as has been largely referenced in previous literature.
dc.subjectDomestic Violence
dc.subjectChild Witness
dc.subjectEmotional Indicators
dc.titleEmotional indicators disclosed during the debriefing process in the figure drawings of child-witnesses of domestic violence
thesis.degree.collegeCollege of Education and Human Ecology
thesis.degree.disciplineFamily Therapy
thesis.degree.grantorTexas Woman's University
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy


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