Is maternal PTSD associated with greater exposure of very young children to violent media?


  • This research was supported by the following grants awarded to the first author: NIH grant K23-MH068405, Bender-Fishbein Fund Award, Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Columbia University Award. We dedicate this article to the memory of our dear colleague Mark Davies who helped to inspire the research discussed.


This study examined media viewing by mothers with violence-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related media exposure of their preschool-age children. Mothers (N = 67) recruited from community pediatric clinics participated in a protocol involving a media-preference survey. Severity of maternal PTSD and dissociation were significantly associated with child exposure to violent media. Family poverty and maternal viewing behavior were also associated. Maternal viewing behavior mediated the effects specifically of maternal PTSD severity on child exposure. Clinicians should assess maternal and child media viewing practices in families with histories of violent trauma exposure and related psychopathology.