Four kinds of maltreatment: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect
Emotional abuse includes acts or omissions that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders; emotional abuse exists, to some degree, in all forms of maltreatment. Childhood emotional abuse and maltreatment occur at a critical time in development when children are learning how to regulate emotions, develop social skills, and understand the world in relation to others. An inability to regulate emotions can cause severe problems for an individual, making it difficult to cope with stress, have positive interactions with others, and build relationships.
Mediator: A mediator variable is the process, mechanism, or means through which a variable produces a particular outcome; it describes what happens at the psychological or neurobiological level to explain how one variable results from another
According to Bowlby, securely attached individuals are comfortable seeking contact and comfort from others in important relationships (as cited in Hankin, 2005). On the other hand, insecurely attached individuals are less comfortable with significant interpersonal relationships (Hankin, 2005). In a study by Hankin, it was reported that an insecure attachment style would significantly predict depressive symptoms, with presence of emotional abuse having a significant impact on depressive symptoms in adulthood Bifulco found that an anxious-avoidant attachment style was positively related to both childhood and adult depressive symptoms. Marked and moderate insecure attachments were significantly related to the onset of depression in adulthood Define anxious-avoidant: children who, after a parents absence, continue to avoid contact with them and feel more comfortable around strangers. Hankin proposes that abusive caretakers, who display insensitive and unresponsive parenting, can place their children at risk for depression because t he child develops an internal model that represents the self as worthless and the world as threatening
unconditional maladaptive schemas: the belief that no matter what the individual does, the outcome will not change Children who experience adversity or maltreatment will try to understand and explain why the neglect occurred, and this inferential process may lead to the formation of a negative cognitive style for depression Instead of developing a working model of the self as worthy of love and attention, a child may develop negative models of the self as unworthy, incompetent, powerless, or bad Emotionally abusive or neglectful parental treatment conveys the message that the child’s core self is a disappointment because he or she has not lived up to expectations, or is simply not worthy of love or attention (Wright et. al., 2009). Furthermore, emotional abuse may be particularly involved with the development of cognitive vulnerability to depression because the emotionally abusive caretakers are providing direct and unambiguous negative content and messages to the child about his or her self (e.x. telling the child that he/she is dumb)
Define Moderator: A moderator variable is a factor that influences the direction or strength of the relationship between other variables of interest Define protective factor: A protective factor is a variable that precedes an outcome of interest and decreases the chances that the outcome will occur; acts as a buffer against some of the effects of maltreatment advanced problem-solving ability, heightened curiosity, a sense of moral agency, and self-efficacy may make gifted students more resilient level of intelligence may account for how and which coping strategies are used by gifted individuals in response to a stressful environment Get examples from articles
Because the effects of child maltreatment and the perception of social support have been shown to impact the risk for adult depression, understanding the relationship among these three variables is important. A study by Schwartz et. al. showed a reduced effect of harsh parenting styles on children who had numerous, strong friendships (as cited in Hasket, 2006). In their study, Powers et. al. (2009) found that perceived friend support predicted lower levels of symptoms of depression in the presence of emotional abuse and neglect.
Second bullet: however emotional abuse and neglect are the least studied types of maltreatment and are almost always present in instances of childhood depression Further research of the effects of emotional abuse and neglect on depression and other disorders is therefore warranted. -Interventions aimed at strengthening social support system, especially those which focus on emotional regulation skills within interpersonal relationships may be successful in treating depression associated with emotional abuse/neglect (Powers et. al., 2009 & Seeds, et. al., 2010). DBT: DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness PCIT: form of psychotherapy for children ages 2-7 and their caregivers . It uses a unique combination of behavioral therapy , play therapy , and parent training to teach more effective discipline techniques and improve the parent-child relationship Early intervention using evidence-based methods is key!
Undergraduate Research Presentation
Mediating Factors that Explain the Effects of Child Maltreatment on Depression & Protective Factors that May Buffer Against the Effects of Maltreatment Sara E. Musacchia University at Albany, SUNY Project Advisor: Dr. Hazel M. Prelow Eighth Annual Undergraduate Research Conference Sunday, April 3, 2011
Introduction <ul><li>Each year, Child Protective Services investigates over 3.5 million cases of suspected maltreatment in the United States, of which about 1/3 are confirmed (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>The consequences of childhood maltreatment may include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharp declines in school functioning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative cognitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems with interpersonal skills & relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional and behavioral problems </li></ul></ul>
Introduction <ul><li>According to Meadows, Brown, and Elder, depression is considered by many to be one of the most serious forms of childhood psychopathology due to the prevalence, chronicity, and various adverse consequences associated with the disorder </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, childhood maltreatment, especially emotional abuse and neglect, has played an overwhelming role in the later onset of depression in adulthood (Wright, Crawford, & Castillo, 2009) </li></ul>
What is a mediator? <ul><li>IV: Child Maltreatment </li></ul><ul><li>DV: Depression </li></ul>
Potential Mediating Variables <ul><li>Insecure attachment style </li></ul><ul><li>Maltreatment type: Emotional abuse/neglect </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>insensitive and inconsistent parenting, along with parental separation and more extreme experiences of neglect and abuse, have all been identified as antecedents of later attachment difficulties </li></ul></ul></ul>
Potential Mediating Variables <ul><li>Maladaptive Cognitive Schemas </li></ul><ul><li>Maltreatment Type: Emotional abuse/neglect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Schemas are conceptualized as organized representations of an individual’s prior experiences that influence current perceptions, thinking, and behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of unconditional maladaptive schemas </li></ul></ul>
Protective Factors <ul><li>Heightened Cognitive Ability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Children with above-average intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Findings suggest that intelligent children are better able to find and utilize all of their resources in order to counteract some of the effects of maltreatment. </li></ul></ul>
Protective Factors <ul><li>Social Support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information from others that one is loved and cared for, esteemed and valued, and part of a network of communication and mutual obligations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peer friendships that are healthy and adaptive have shown to be linked with success for children who are at risk </li></ul></ul>
Conclusion <ul><li>The current presentation discussed two potential pathways through with child maltreatment could lead to depression and two resilience factors that may buffer against the effects of maltreatment. </li></ul><ul><li>Physical/sexual abuse is often paired with emotional abuse and neglect </li></ul><ul><li>There are several psychological interventions that may be used with children who are experiencing maltreatment. These include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Suggested policy interventions </li></ul>