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Child Physical Abuse

by: Lindsay Bellinger

Child Physical Abuse PSYX 348

Lindsay Bellinger

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About this Document

Chapter three covers reasons behind why child physical abuse, as well as case studies and examples
Psychology of Family Violence
Laura Kirsch
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lindsay Bellinger on Monday October 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYX 348 at University of Montana taught by Laura Kirsch in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Psychology of Family Violence in Psychology (PSYC) at University of Montana.

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Date Created: 10/10/16
Psychology of Family Violence Chapter 3 – Child Physical Abuse What is child physical abuse? - The intentional use of force by a parent or caregiver that results in, or has the potential to result in physical injury - Two components: o Harm: observable injuries that lasts more than 48 hours o Endangerment: substantially at risk for injury Child physical abuse and the law - Definitions differ from state to state - All states agree that child physical abuse is non-accidental injury resulting in substantial risk of physical harm - Most address the overt consequences of abuse (bruising, broken bones, burning, etc.) - Most allow “reasonable” corporal punishment How often does child physical abuse occur? - From Child Maltreatment 2012: o Of the 686,000 victims of child abuse or neglect, 18% were physically abused o Of the 1640 child fatalities, 44% suffered physical abuse either alone or in combination - From Finkelhor et al. (2013), a national survey of children ages 0-17 o 4% reported physical abuse by a caregiver in the past year; 10% in their lifetime o 18% of 14-17 year olds reported physical abuse by a caregiver in their lifetime - From parent surveys: o Family Violence Survey, 1985: 75% of parents acknowledged using at least 1 violent act in rearing children o National Representative Sample, 1998, 50% of parents reported engaging in “severe physical assault” behaviors (i.e., hitting with an object) - From NVAWS o 50% of adults reported at least one physical assault by a caregiver as a child Who are the victims? - Child physical abuse declines with age o Majority occurs in kids age 0-5 - Boys at slightly higher risk than girls - Low socio-economic status at greater risk o Serious or fatal violence more likely in families below poverty level - Racial disparity o White children (3.2 per 1000) o Black children have highest rate (6.6 per 1000) o Hispanic children (4.4 per 1000) - Disabled children at higher risk: 2 times more likely to be abused Consequences of child physical abuse Shaken baby syndrome (abusive head trauma) - One of the leading causes of death in child abuse cases - Babies have weak neck muscles and large, heavy heads o Shaking makes fragile brain bounce in skull and causes bruising, swelling, and bleeding - Damage includes bleeding in brain and retinas, spinal cord and neck damage, fractured ribs and bones - Can lead to death, blindness, neurological or mental disability o But hard to pinpoint, criminally charge Neurological problems: - Compromised brain development o Some brain areas have been found to be smaller in children who have been abused - Changes in physiological response to stress - Impairment of overall intelligence o Language skills deficits o Memory problems o Cognitive skills deficits o Attention problems - Poor academic achievement o Lower reading and math skills o Higher rate of learning disabilities - Disruption in neurotransmitter release o Can result in increased risk of psychological disorders Behavioral problems - Increased physical aggression and antisocial behaviors - Higher risk of drinking and drug use - Problems with noncompliance and defiance - Increased fights in and out of the home - Higher arrest rate Socio-emotional problems - Higher level of internalizing symptoms: o Depression, stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, suicidality, hopelessness - Attachment problems: o Insecure attachments, especially disorganized attachment - Difficulty making friends - Deficits in prosocial behavior - Increased peer rejection - Difficulty with empathy, perspective-taking - Difficulty understanding social interactions Psychological disorders - 40% suffer Major Depressive Disorder - 30% Behavioral Disorders: - Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder - Greater risk of ADHD o Could be due to neurological issues? - 36% will suffer PTSD, up to 80% will exhibit some symptoms - Higher risk of substance use disorders & risky sexual behavior in adolescence Long term consequences - As adults, victims of child physical abuse exhibit higher rates of: o Physical health problems (high blood pressure, poor oxygen concentration) o Socioemotional difficulties o Psychological disorders o Substance abuse o Criminal and violent behavior o Arrests o Violent interpersonal relationships Consequences of child physical abuse vary according to” - Frequency, severity and duration of abuse - Polyvictimization - Childs developmental age, gender, and adjustment prior to the abuse o Male = externalizing symptoms more often o Female = internalizing symptoms more often - Childs attributions and perception of abuse o Self-blame leads to internalizing symptoms - Family factors o The combination of poor family climate and physical abuse is particularly harmful Protective factors include high intellectual functioning and supportive parent/other adult such as an auntie or uncle or grandparent Perpetrators of Abuse - Young parents are more common (usually under 40) - Males; if non-related (step parent or boyfriend of mother - Females; if related (biological mother) - Non-biological parents are more commonly the abusive - Single parent families (higher stress and fewer resources) Psychological characteristics of the perpetrator - Emotional and behavioral difficulties o Low empathy o Poor emotion regulation o Anger control problems o Hostility o Low frustration tolerance - Family and interpersonal characteristics o High conflict and low cohesion in the family o Limited social support o Higher rates of IPV - Depression - Substance abuse (lowers inhibitions) - High life stress - Higher levels of anxiety Parental difficulties of the perpetrator - Unrealistic expectations o potty training expectations o emotion regulation (unable to stop crying) - Low frustration tolerance - Poor problem-solving skills - Poor child management skills o Use less effective parenting and more negative parenting strategies o Use more physical discipline techniques - Distorted, negative perceptions of children - Fewer positive interactions with children - Hypersensitive to crying - Increased stress response (more likely to become stressed at smaller things) Theories of child physical abuse Individual Psychopathology Model - Parent mental illness causes abuse o But only a small percentage meets the criteria for severe psychological disorders Difficult Child Model - Behavior of the child is a major cause of child physical abuse o BUT, child’s behavior should never justify adult’s violent behavior Parent-child interaction model - Difficult child behaviors interact with specific parent behaviors o BUT, punitive parenting associated with negative child behavior ^^^^ ALL OLD AND OUTDATED THEORIES Social learning theory - The adult was possibly abused as a child as therefore thinks it is normal Wolfe’s 3 Stage Model Destabilizing factors; things that make it worse Compensatory factors: things that reduce the risk of abuse 1. Reduction is the parental stress tolerance o Destabilizing factors: stressful life events, poor child rearing ability o Compensatory factors: socioeconomic status ability, social support 2. Poor management of acute crisis o Destabilizing factors: multiple sources of anger, perceptions of child behavior as harmful or threatening o Compensatory factors: good coping abilities, improved child behavior 3. Chronic patterns of anger and abuse o Destabilizing factors: escalating child behavior problems, success in using control techniques o Compensatory factors: Parental dissatisfaction with strict control methods, availability of community resources (homebuilders program) Prevention and Intervention Policies Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) enacted in 1974 - Provides federal money to states in support of prevention, assessment, investigation and treatment for child abuse and neglect - Larger federal role in research of child physical abuse - Set minimum definition of child abuse and neglect Mandatory reporting of suspected abuse - Medical and mental health personnel - Educators (teachers) - Daycare personnel - Public employees (law enforcement) Child Protective Services (CPS) - Responding to reports of child abuse or neglect and implementing policies, procedures and practices to support families to meet the needs of their children and keep children safe Treatment for abusers Effective treatments address several factors: - Parenting skills - Distorted cognitions - Developing adaptive and non-violent coping strategies - Emotional regulation skills Cognitive behavioral therapy framework (CBT) - Modelling - Role playing of new techniques Treatment for victims Determined by child’s unique symptoms and age - Address child’s thinking patterns, affective response and behavioral reactions to abuse - Focus on attributions of blame and responsibility - Can be individual, group or both Variety of techniques - Relaxation training - Skills training - Psychoeducation - Coping skills/developing support Community interventions - Crisis hotlines - Support groups - Education resources - Home visitation programs - Community awareness campaigns


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