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Lecture 8

PSYC23H3 Lecture 8: LECT 8

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David Haley

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LECT 8 – CHILD ABUSE Weekly assignments - child abuse o effects o interventions (therapy) o what constitutes child abuse? ▪ Religion? ▪ Does it only have to be done by parents? - V little about the causes and effects of child abuse o Does it pass on biologically & behaviorally thru generations? o Mental health; as a effect & risk factor - What are the proximal mechanisms in the indiv? (right when they are about to do it) o Physiological? o Psychological? 1/3 of Canadians have suffered child abuse - most common form exposure to intimate partner violence o physical (spank, slapping) - even if you have one type of child abuse, there is a double/triple greater chance of developing a mental illness o 2 types (child abuse & exposure to intimate partner violence) ▪ 2x likely to commit suicide Childhood Abuse, Suicide, and Epigenetics - STUDY (McGowan) o Ppl who end up committing suicide & have been sexually abused as a child… ▪ Down-regulation of GR receptors • Critical for providing (-) feedback to HPA axis • w/o GR receptors, you don’t have (-) feedback occurring efficiently o HPA turns on all the time to everyday stressors o How much methylation, epigenetic marks are at the genetic sites for GR receptors ▪ Tremendous amount of methylation • This infl how the GR receptors are turned off ▪ Increase in methylation= putting duck tape on a victim - Experience of abuse of a child contributes to the stress system, which explains why they had suicidal beh Is Child Abuse A Psychological Or Physical Problem Scars That Won’t Heal: The Neurobiology of Child Abuse (Teicher, 2002) • Limbic irritability • Brain development – Reduction in left hippocampus (adults but not adolescents) – Reduction in left amygdala (adults and adolescents) – Connectivity • Neurochemical effects – Stress effects are gradual – Alterations in GABA receptors in amygdala • Microstructues – EEG abnormalities • Abnormally high EEG coherence  limited development More irritable amygdala - hard to regulate emotion - gross structural differences - hemispheres develop where they are out of sync w each other abnormal brain activity - too much EEG happening all at once o the general rhythm to brain activity is gone The Silent Epidemic of Child Sexual Abuse - vast epidemic o not reported as much as it occurs - 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before age 18 - Over 90% by someone they already know o family members o friends o babysitters o coaches, etc. - Only 1 in 10 sexually abused children tell someone Erin Merryn - laws to punish sex offenders - educated ppl about sexual abuse o made ppl more aware Should Children in School Learn about Child Abuse? - some countries do this - some say kids are too young to know/learn about it - some parents may not identify w being a parent o get more frustrated - evolutionary story about step parents o Cinderella theory ▪ Step-parents are the biggest cooperates of child murder ▪ More likely to kill child than biological parent • They have less to invest; its not their genetic offspring ▪ 1 natural & 1 step parent • child is 0-2 5x greater chance of suffering child abuse than if you had 2 natural parents ▪ 1 natural & 1 step parent • 0-2 more than 5x greater chance of being murdered than if you had 2 natural parents - could this be bc the kid is being more reactive to the step parent o more difficult w step-parent Child Abuse, Antisocial Beh, Genetics - are the childs genes affecting how influenced they are by the abuse? • Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) – Gene that codes for an enzyme that metabolizes neurotransmitters (dopamine, seratonin, and epinephrine) and renders them inactive – Genetic deficiencies in this gene and low activity in MAOA linked to aggression in mice and men • MAOA • Feedback mechanism for our neurotransmitters • Low more aggression • Hypothesis: – Children with polymorphism in MAOA gene will have lower MAOA activity and be greatly affected by child abuse • Ppl who have a mutation of the gene, which leads them to have less MAOA expressed; will they be greatly affected by child abuse than those w/o this mutation? - RESULTS o Low MAOA (mutation) ▪ Child abuse greatest antisocial beh ▪ No abuse almost acts as a protective factor; lowest amount of antisocial beh • MAOA gene acts in 2 diff ways depending on the context!!! o No mutation ▪ Child abuse still show antisocial beh, BUT, not as much as those w the mutation - If you’re going to be abused, its better to not have the mutation o If you do have the gene, go to a better environment Cycle of Abuse - how likely is it to continue o dark side of attachment - does harsh parenting get passed down from one generation to the next? Intergenerational Transmission of Violence - generation 1 studied kids for a long time o came back 12 yrs later when the kids had kids of their own ▪ can measure intergenerational transmission - generation 2 - generation 3 Disrupting Intergenerational Continuity In Harsh And Abusive Parenting STUDY (conger et al) - 2 home visits in midwest in rural location o Visit 1 (1970’s): Generation 1 (parents) and generation 2 (children) o Visit 2 (1990’s): Generation 2 (parents) and generation 3 (kids) - Puzzle task intended to be stressful o Harsh parenting - Partner interaction task o Warmth and support of romantic partners (married or cohabitating) - looked at the partner o does it matter the kind of romantic r/s you’re in that determines your parenting? To measure harsh parenting, observers rated parents on a 9-point scale from low to high on the degree to which they showed: 1) Hostility (angry or rejecting behavior) 2) Angry coercion (demanding, stubborn, coercive) 3) Physical attacks (hitting, pushing, pinching, etc.) 4) Antisocial behavior (self-centered, immature, insensitive) To measure warmth and support, observers rated partners on a 9-point scale from low to high on the degree to which they showed: 1) Warmth/support 2) Endearment 3) Escalate warmth 4) Reciprocate warmth To measure positive communication, observers rated partners on a 9-point scale from low to high on the degree to which they showed: Communication, listener responsiveness, assertiveness, and prosocial behavior - RESULTS o Harsh parenting in generation 1 predicts children’s harsh parenting to their kids when they grow up ▪ Not a huge correlation; but a modest one o Does partner make a difference?? ▪ Low levels of warm-support r/s predicts childrens harsh parenting to their kids when they grow up • Harsh parenting in gen 1  harsh parenting in gen 2 • Huge correlation ▪ Good romantic r/s helps • Harsh parening in gen 1 doesn’t predict gen 2 harsh parenting If you were abused, and you don’t want you’re kids to abuse their kids, choose your partner wisely - partner r/s is critical to generation 2 parenting harsh gen 1 parenting is correlated to harsh parenting in gen 2, esp when you have low support-warmth romantic r/s Working Mom Arrested For Letting Her 9yr Old Play Alone At Park • South Carolina mother is an accountant in McDonalds • Mother sent child to play in nearby park with a cell phone • Mother arrested and charged with “unlawful conduct towards a child” - is this a form of child abuse? o Is it neglectful? o Should it be criminalized? Why Do We Sometimes Become Emotionally Attached To The “Wrong” People? • The behaviorists believed that if you reward a person for a particular behavior, he or she will be more likely to repeat that behaviour—and if you do not reward the person for the behavior, or if you punish it, he or she will be less likely to repeat it. • Doesn’t always work this way. • Harry Harlow, for example, studied infant monkeys raised with a surrogate "mother" made of chicken wire, cloth, and plastic. In one of Harlow's studies, researchers blasted air from the surrogate mother's torso as an infant held on. The monkeys didn't let go; they held on harder. - you are reinforced w nice interaction, this can be like a reward for sticking around o abuse shouldn’t increase the interaction "Any Mother in a Storm" - Evolution appears to favor attachment by the infant, regardless of the quality of care. If a newborn infant fails to form an attachment to its caregiver, even an abusive one, its chances of survival diminish. - Sullivan et al investigated whether learned avoidance behaviour differed in younger and older rat pups. - Attachment in infant rats depends in large part on the olfactory system. Infant rats learn odor cues that allow them to orient themselves to the mother and the litter and to attach to the mother's nipples. - why don’t children learn to fear/avoid parents o RATS don’t learn to fear abusive stimulation ▪ no fear learning in the context of their parents • supports attachment theory ▪ fear learning is inhibited in young rat pups Good Memories of Bad Events in Infancy STUDY (Sullivan et al) • Postnatal day 10, older rat pups secrete CORT/release dopamine--> activate amygdala--> avoid odor • Before postnatal day 10, younger rat pups di
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