Caregiver Psychosocial Wellbeing and Family Violence: A scoping review of factors that affect the wellbeing of children in humanitarian crisis

Children make up more than 50% of the population affected by humanitarian crisis. Although it has been shown that a stable, nurturing and safe home environment can help mitigate the negative effects of ambient violence and instability, with deteriorating family relationships and poor psychosocial wellbeing of caregivers in humanitarian crisis, children may face an additional source of harm from within their home. This scoping review was conducted to a) examine the extent to which caregiver psychosocial wellbeing and family violence affect the wellbeing of children and b) understand if interventions and programming can improve wellbeing of children through changes in caregiver psychosocial wellbeing or family violence.

Using the Arksey and O’Malley framework, the researchers searched three electronic databases and various grey literature sources for literature that discussed the associations between caregiver psychosocial wellbeing and/or family violence, and the wellbeing of children. A quantitative and thematic analysis was conducted to examine the extent, range and scope of literature.

The findings from 22 identified observational studies indicated that caregiver psychosocial wellbeing and family violence are both associated with various dimensions of child wellbeing. Although the three interventional studies suggest that targeting caregiver wellbeing and family violence may be promising, the search revealed very limited evidence in the form of evaluated programs that reliably measure caregiver and family dimensions, while also measuring child outcomes.

Focusing on improving the wellbeing of caregivers and reducing family violence may provide an important venue through which we can improve the lives of children. However, further research must be conducted to expand our understanding of the relationships between relevant factors, and to create robust program evaluations to determine the efficacy and value of interventions. Such research can contribute to the evidence base that is crucial to helping us protect and promote the wellbeing of children in these challenging contexts.

Published 2019-02-09