Method, Participants, and Statistical analyses: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 516 Israeli university and college students (90.7% female, and 9.3% male; M age = 24.9, SD = 2.7) using a retrospective, self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaires were distributed to all of the students who were present in class on the day of data collection. The students were asked to fill out the questionnaire during the class session and return it in a sealed envelope, which was provided together with the questionnaire. Structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis was conducted
using the Amos V 22 Programming. This analysis approach allows for examination of direct, indirect, and total effects in a single analysis, and bootstrapping estimates for testing the mediating (indirect) effects was used.
Results: The results revealed that exposure to each pattern of family violence (i.e., witnessing interparental violence and experiencing parental violence) predicted higher levels of PTSS. Furthermore, social support was found to partially mediate the relationship between experiencing parental violence in the past and PTSS in the current PTSS as well as its four symptoms, i.e., depression, sleep disturbance, dissociation, and anxiety. Self-efficacy also partially mediated the relationship between experiencing parental violence and PTSS, but was not a significant mediator between witnessing interparental violence and PTSS, although low levels of self-efficacy predicted high levels of PTSS.
Conclusions and Implications: The results highlight the important role of social support and self-efficacy in the association between adversities experienced early in life and young adulthood outcomes. The examination of these protective factors in the context of family violence is of great theoretical and empirical importance and expands our knowledge regarding the role of protective factors under conditions where stressors occur within rather than outside of the family.