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Lecture 10

Lecture 10

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Psychology 2042A/B
Jeff St Pierre

Lecture 10 – April 2 : Child Abuse and Neglect Overview - Child abuse and neglect have been recognized as a significant problems since the early 1970s - In North America, it is estimated that one in ten children experience some form of sexual victimization by an adult or peer. It is estimated that one in ten receives harsh physical punishment by a parent or other caregiver that puts them at risk of injury - Child maltreatment refers to four primary acts: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse - Non-accidental trauma refers to the wide/range effects of maltreatment on the child’s physical and emotional development - Victimization is abuse or maltreatment of someone whose ability to protect himself or herself is limited - Most common child abuser would be a single mother; sexual abuse is more common with men - Maltreatment often occurs within ongoing relationships that are assumed to be protective, supportive, and nurturing - Abused or neglected children face paradoxical dilemmas o The victim wants to stop the violence but also longs to belong to the family in which they are being abused o Affection and attention may coexist with violence and abuse o Intensity of violence tends to increase over time, but in some cases, physical violence may decrease or stop - Societies are struggling to balance parental rights with children’s rights to be safe and free from harm o Maltreatment harms children physical, in developing relationships with others, and in their fundamental sense of safety and self-esteem Healthy Families - Children need a caregiving environment that balances their need for control and direction (“demandingness”) with their need for stimulation and sensitivity (“responsiveness”) - Healthy parenting includes: o Knowledge of child development and expectations o Adequate coping skills and knowledge of ways to enhance development through stimulation and attention o Normal parent-child attachment and communication o Home management skills o Shared parenting responsibilities o Provision of social and health services - Healthy patterns depend on: o Parental competence and developmental sensitivity o Family circumstances o Availability of community resources (education, childrearing information, social networks, and support) - Family situation (e.g., parents’ marital relationship and child’s characteristics) provides basic context of child-rearing - Fundamental, expectable environment: o Infants: protective and nurturing adults, as well as opportunities for socialization within culture o Older children: supportive family, peer contact, opportunities to explore and master their environment o ***** - Continuum of Care figure 14.1 *** Neglect - Physical neglect: refusal or delay in seeking health care, expulsion from the home, or refusal to allow a runaway to return home, abandonment, and inadequate supervision - Educational neglect: allowing chronic truancy, failing to enrol a child of mandatory school age in school, or failing to attend to a child’s special education needs - Emotional neglect (most difficult to define): marked inattention to a child’s needs for affection, refusal or failure to provide needed psychological care, spousal abuse in the child’s presence, permission of drug/alcohol use by the child - Requires consideration of cultural values and poverty when determining neglect - Neglected children show behaviour patterns between undisciplined activity and extreme passivity - Table 14.1 ** Sexual Abuse - Fondling a child’s genitals, intercourse with the child, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials - May significantly affect behaviour, development, and physical health of sexually abused children - Reactions and recovery of sexually abused children vary, depending on the nature of the assault and responses of important others o Many acute symptoms resemble children’s common reactions to stress - Constitutes a breach of trust, deception, intrusion, and exploitation of a child’s innocence and *** Emotional Abuse and Exploitation - Emotional abuse: o Repeated acts or omissions that may cause serious behavioural, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders o Exists in all forms of maltreatment o Can be as harmful as to a child’s development as physical abuse or neglect - Exploitation o Commercial or sexual exploitation, such as child labour and child prostitution o Significant form of trauma for child and adolescents worldwide  As many as ten million children may be victims of child prostitution, the sex industry, sex tourism and pornography Incidence of Abuse and Neglect in North America - Almost one million children in U.S. are substantiated victims of child maltreatment each year (10.1 per 1,000 children) o Neglect (78.4%), physical abuse (11%), sexual abuse (7.6%), psychological maltreatment (7.6%), and other forms of maltreatment (9.6%)  About one in four suffered more than one form of maltreatment o Sexual and physical abuse cases have declined considerably since 1992?  Economic improvement  Awareness  Page 455! - Lifetime prevalence estimates of childhood abuse in Ontario Health survey – “during childhood did you experience…?) o Sexual abuse: 4.3% of males; 12.8% of females o Physical abuse: 31.2% of males; 21.1% of women Characteristics of Victimized Children - Age o Younger children more at risk for abuse and neglect, while sexual abuse is more common among older age groups (over 12) o Except for sexual abuse, victimization ***** Characteristics of Family and Perpetrator - More common among the poor and disadvantaged - Children from single-parent homes with a live-in partner and large families are art highest risk - 80% of victims are abused by one or both parents, although nearly 50% of sexually abused children are abused by persons other than parents/parent figures o Mother is perpetrator of neglect 90% of the time - Males are offenders in majority of sexual abuse (90%), and about half of those are the child’s father or father figure - Except for sexual abuse, the most common perpetrator for child maltreatment is a female parent acting alone, typically younger than 30 years of age Resilience and Adaptation - Maltreatment does not affect each child in a predictable or consistent way; outcomes depend on severity and chronicity of events and how the events interact with the child’s individual and family characteristics - Protective factors o Positive relationship with at least one important and consistent person in the child’s life who provides support and protection (may be a maltreating parent) o Personality characteristics, such as positive self-esteem and sense of self - Removing children from families can become another source of stress and disruption, with undesired side effects Developmental Consequences - Early attachment and emotion regulation: o Parent-child attachment and home climate play a critical role in emotion regulation (ability to modulate or control the intensity and expression of feelings and impulses) o Maltreated infants/toddlers have difficulty establishing reciprocal, consistent interaction with caregivers:  Exhibit insecure-disorganized attachment  Have difficulty understanding, labelling, and regulating internal emotional states  Learn to inhibit emotional expression and regulation, remaining more fearful and on alert o Difficulty modulating emotions can result in depressive reactions or angry outbursts and may lead to self-harm as well as internalizing and externalizing problems - Neurobiological development o Children and adults with a history of child abuse show long-term alterations in the HPA axis and norepinephrine systems, which have a significant effect on responsiveness to stress o Affected brain areas include the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, which can lead to long-term mental health problems o Acute and chronic forms of stress associated with maltreatment may cause changes in brain development and structure from an early age  Neuroendocrine system becomes highly sensitive to stress, causing neurobiological changes that may account for later psychiatric problems - Emerging view of self and others o Maltreated children’s emerging views of self and their surroundings are not fostered by healthy parental guidance and control, thus emotional and behavioural problems are likely to appear o Develop negative representational models of self and others based on a sense of inner “badness”, self-blame, shame, or rage o Feelings of powerlessness and betrayal internalizing signs of distress such as shame and self-blame, while maltreated boys show heightened levels of verbal and physical aggression - Emotional and behavioural problems: o Maltreated children’s relationships with peers and teachers have elements of being a victim and victimizer  They are easily distracted by aggressive stimuli and make hostile attributions for the actions of others o Physically abused and neglected children show little skill at recognizing distress in others, and they respond to others’ distress with fear, physical attack, or anger o Maltreated children (especially physically abused) are more physically and verbally aggressive with peers, and are more likely to be unpopular and rejected o Maltreated children (especially neglected) often withdraw from and avoid peer interaction - Emotional and behavioural problems o Physical abuse or neglect lead to wide-ranging problems in school and interpersonal adjustment o Sexually abused girls have:  Significant neurodevelopment differences in their responses to stress  Greater cognitive deficits  More mental health problems (especially depression and PTSD), and illnesses  Higher rates of dropping out of high school self-mutilation, physical and sexual revictimization, and teen motherhood  Increased rates of drug use Psychopathology and Adult Outcomes - Abuse and neglect increase the likelihood of failure, future maladaptation’s, and significant emotional and adjustment problems o Cycle-of-violence hypothesis: victims of violence have greater chance of becoming perpetrators of violence - Child sexual abuse can lead to chronic impairments in self-esteem, physical health problems, and emotional and behavioural
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