UTSA researcher receives grant to study children exposed to domestic violence

Amy Chanmugan

Amy Chanmugam

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(July 3, 2012) -- Amy Chanmugam, an assistant professor of social work at The University of Texas at San Antonio, has received a $17,500 grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to research the mental health needs of children in domestic violence shelters.

Her proposal was selected from a pool of 44 applicants from universities across Texas. In total, 10 tenure-track assistant professors in Texas were awarded a sum of $174,627 by the Hogg Foundation to advance innovative academic research in mental health.

Through her research, Chanmugam will develop a comprehensive picture of how mothers perceive and seek help for children exposed to domestic violence that have mental health needs. She identifies children who have lived through domestic violence as an underserved and under-researched population vulnerable to poor mental health, academic and social outcomes.

"Children typically make up at least half of the residents in shelters and we know from previous research that about half of them arrive with emotional or behavioral challenges or post-traumatic stress symptoms, but we don't know about families' experiences seeking mental health services for them," Chanmugam said. "By discussing the study's results afterwards with practitioners, community policy makers and other researchers, I hope to contribute to improving mental health access for children who've been exposed to domestic violence."

With her foundation award, Chanmugam plans to work with 30 mothers of school age children living in domestic violence shelters in Texas.

The work that these grantees produce will advance our knowledge in critical areas of mental health. The grant initiative will also help these researchers build upon their budding careers," said Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation.