Exposure to domestic violence and identity development among adolescent university students in South Africa

02 Oct 2012

This study examined the relationship between exposure to domestic violence and identity development in a sample of 108 undergraduate students with an average age of 18.7 yr. from University of Limpopo in South Africa. There were more women (n=64; 58.7%) in the study than men (n=45; 41.3%). Adolescents were classified into high and low domestic violence exposure groups on the basis of a median split in physical violence scores from the Child Exposure to Domestic Violence Scale (CEDV). Exposure was then compared with identity development as measured by the Ochse and Plug Erikson scale. The results indicated a significant mean difference between the two groups on identity development. Furthermore, exposure to domestic violence was significantly associated with lower scores for identity development as represented by subscales measuring trust, autonomy, initiative and other Eriksonian constructs. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.