Causes of Child Maltreatment


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Child psychology research presentation on the causes of child maltreatment

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  • Interaction of the child- relationship with the perpetrator (friend, parent, caregiver), child’s behavior or developmental limitations (child with mental retardation or physical impairments are 3x more likely to suffer maltreatment) Interaction of the familial- martial violence or problems including relationship distress, dissatisfaction, and sexual discontentment Environmental influences- level of stress, social economic status, lack of parenting experience or parenting guidance (exposure to positive parental models and support) Cultural influences- definition/ acceptance of corporal punishment, religious beliefs (gender roles), entertainment industry (stereotypes of weak women and powerful men) Statistic- It is estimated that fewer than 10% of maltreating parents have a primary psychiatric illness, such as paranoid schizophrenia or Factitious disorder by proxy (formerly known as Munchausen by proxy) which might cause them to harm a child. (Box 14.2) pg 424
  • Relational disorders- transitional periods include postnatal attachment period, the early childhood and early adolescence “oppositional” periods of testing limits, and the times of family instability and disruption. Information-processing disturbances: causes maltreating parents to misperceive or mislabel typical child behavior in ways that lead to inappropriate responses and increased aggression.
  • This creates an escalating cycle of family turmoil and violence as children’s behavioral and emotional reactions to the violence create additional stress on the marital relationship. Children may also learn from an early age that misbehaving often elicits a predictable parent reaction- even though its negative- which give the child some sense of control.
  • Explanations for preconditions: Many people believe that sexual abuse is about sexual gratification when in fact it is more often related to the desire for power and the need to humiliate others. In Joline’s case, the psychologist speculated that Mr. Kennington’s recent occupational difficulties, loss of older sons from the house, and arguments with his wife may have created a sense of lack of power that was alleviated by controlling his daughter. In order to do this, many times perpetrators must engage in substance abuse (mainly alcohol), deny negative consequences of the abuse, accept child pornography as an acceptable medium, attribute the behavior to poor self-control, or believe that a parent may do as he or she wishes with a child. These obstacles include discovery or arrest. In Joline’s case, at first, the external obstacles were relatively easy for her father to control because his wife allowed him to spend considerable amounts of time in Joline’s bedroom and ignored her daughter’s complaints about the sexual activity. For example, taking advantage of the child’s initial confusion about the difference between normal parent-child affection and exploitation. Sexual offenders seldom resort to force to gain a child’s compliance because they are motivated to gain the child’s affection, interest, and loyalty. This reduces the chance the child will report the sexual activity.
  • Deficits include: social isolation, difficultly forming emotionally close, trusting relationship, and low self-esteem.
  • Causes of Child Maltreatment

    1. 1. Causes of Child Maltreatment Selby Rains
    2. 2. Commonalities in Maltreatment <ul><li>Rarely caused by single factor. </li></ul><ul><li>Maltreatment largely stems from the interaction of the child, familial, environmental and cultural influences.* </li></ul><ul><li>If you break it down, you are left with… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic Difficulties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Isolation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of Parenting Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alcohol and Substance Abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional Problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High Risk Children </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stress is a key influential factor. </li></ul><ul><li>Maltreatment is seldom caused by severe forms of adult psychopathology.* </li></ul>
    3. 3. Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Neglect <ul><li>Neglect and physical abuse are rarely planned or intentional acts. </li></ul><ul><li>Physical Abuse and Neglect are defined as Relational disorders : maltreatment occurs most often during periods of stressful role transitions for parents.* </li></ul><ul><li>Added stress is the one most common risk factors for an individual who has already reached his or her limit. </li></ul><ul><li>These types of maltreatment usually occur in relation to child-rearing demands. </li></ul><ul><li>Risk factors of physical abuse and neglect include the lack of experience and guidance and the lack of current and past exposure to positive parental models and supports. </li></ul><ul><li>Information-processing disturbances play significant role for increasing the risk of maltreatment.* </li></ul>
    4. 4. Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Neglect Continued… <ul><li>In general, neglectful parents actively avoid interacting with their children even when they are seeking attention. </li></ul><ul><li>Neglectful parents have more striking personality disorders and inadequate knowledge of children’s needs. They suffer more chronic patterns of social isolation and cope with the stress of child-rearing through escape and avoidance . </li></ul><ul><li>Neglectful caregivers typically disengage when they are under stress, whereas abusive parents become emotionally and behaviorally reactive. </li></ul><ul><li>Physical and emotional abuse are most notably accompanied by marital conflict and violence and have a causal relationship. </li></ul><ul><li>Children are often caught in the cross fire between angry adults, or in some cases, instigate marital conflict by misbehaving or demanding attention.* </li></ul>
    5. 5. Sexual Abuse <ul><li>Sexual abuse is primarily a premeditated act where the adult plays a purposeful and intentional role </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual abuse can be motivated by sexual gratification, however it is more often related to the desire for power and the need to humiliate others. </li></ul><ul><li>4 preconditions generally met before sexual abuse occurs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perpetrator must have motivation to abuse a child sexually. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perpetrator must overcome his or her inhibition regarding sexual activities with a child. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perpetrator must overcome external obstacles to the sexual behavior. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perpetrator must overcome the child’s resistance to sexual contact. </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Sexual Abuse Continued… <ul><li>PEDOPHILIA is the DSM-IV-TR definition for most sexual offenders. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Pedophilia is defined as sexual activity or sexually arousing fantasies involving a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger), by someone who is at least 16 years old and at least 5 years older than the child. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exclusive Type: persons with pedophilia who are sexually attracted only to children. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonexclusive Type: persons with pedophilia who are sexually attracted to adults and children. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As a group, these offenders are more likely to have significant social and relationship deficits.* </li></ul><ul><li>Risk factors for sexual offenders include comorbid psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Exploitation <ul><li>Poverty is the greatest factor in child prostitution; the migration of families from rural areas into cities increases unemployment rates which contributes to the breakdown of families, homelessness, and children on the streets. </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty is also the greatest factor in child labor; child labor is highest in developing countries where child labor is cheap and regulatory laws are nonexistent or inadequately enforced. </li></ul><ul><li>The internet is the greatest factor in child pornography; child pornography can be produced easily, inexpensively, and almost anonymously. All it takes is the click of a button to produce and distribute child pornography readily making it available to virtually anyone in the world. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Videos <ul><li> News Story. Galveston, Texas. </li></ul><ul><li> Child Abuse- Do you even care? </li></ul><ul><li> Child Abuse Why? </li></ul>