• adolescents;
  • coping;
  • domestic violence;
  • school nursing;
  • survey

lepistö s., åstedt-kurki p., joronen k., luukkaala t. & paavilainen e. (2010) Adolescents’ experiences of coping with domestic violence. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(6), 1232–1245.


Title. Adolescents’ experiences of coping with domestic violence.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of experiences of domestic violence and coping among ninth-grade (14–17 years old) adolescents.

Background.  Domestic violence is commonplace and adolescents are involved in it either as witnesses or victims. Research has shown that different degrees of domestic violence play a major role in adolescent well-being and coping.

Method.  A survey of ninth graders in one municipality in Finland was conducted in 2007. A total of 1393 adolescents participated, giving a 78% response rate. The survey included two validated scales, the Violence Scale and the Adolescent Coping Scale. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine coping among adolescents with and without experience of domestic violence.

Results.  Sixty-seven per cent of adolescents had experienced parental symbolic aggression, 55% mild violence and 9% serious violence. The multivariate logistic regression model showed that experiences of violence were associated with deterioration in self-rated health, life satisfaction, adolescent giving in when in a conflict situation, approval of corporal punishment and coping by seeking to belong and self-blame. Those with experience of domestic violence did not seek professional help.

Conclusion.  Adolescents experiencing domestic violence do not seek help and care providers should therefore take active measures to help them. These adolescents reported that they were satisfied with life, which makes it difficult to identify their need for help. Resources should be developed to identify and help these adolescents.