We study the effects of violence towards children on early childhood cognitive and noncognitive development. We use data from a longitudinal nationally representative survey of Chilean children to generate estimates of exposure to violence (verbal and/or physical), for two rounds of the survey conducted in 2010 and 2012, on two different outcomes: one that measures vocabulary development (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, PPVT) and one that measures socio-emotional development (Child Behavioral Check List, CBCL). We contribute to the literature by providing estimates which control for child-mother unobservable characteristics, improving on the literature that up to know has used cross-sectional data. We find that being exposed to some violence has a negative and significant effect on verbal skills of children. It also hinders socioemotional development of the child, by increasing her behavioral problem in all three of studied areas: internalization problems, externalization problems, as well as sleep problems. We also find that systematic exposure to violence over time decreases child development in both developmental areas. Finally, we study heterogeneous effects along three lines: child’s sex, age, and maternal education level. We find that violence affects girls in terms of their vocabulary development, and that both boys and girls increase their behavioral problems, with stronger effects among boys. We also find that the negative effects diminish as children get older, but they remain negative over the complete age range in the sample. In terms of mother’s education, we find stronger effects on children with lower educated mothers. Overall our estimations reveal that exposure to violence has significant negative association with the cognitive and noncognitive development of children.
Como citar: Berthelon, M., Contreras, D., Kruguer, D., Palma, M. (2018). Violence and Early Childhood Development. Serie Documentos de Trabajo COES, Documento de trabajo N°35, pp. 1-40.