Chilc Abuse Essay

This essay has a total of 1069 words and 5 pages.

Chilc Abuse

Each year in the USA there are approximately one million reports of child maltreatment,
about 25% relate to physical abuse and about 1000 children die of maltreatment each year
(US Department of Health and Human Services 1999). During the past few decades,
researchers have aimed at detecting the children, who are at high risk of becoming victims
of abuse, so that appropriate interventions can be undertaken. The risk factors that have
been emphasized include characteristics of the child, family, and social environment, and
the relationship.

One of the risk factors that have been widely studied is the parents' upbringing,
specifically whether he or she was abused as a child. This risk factor is often referred
to as intergenerational transmission of child abuse. Soon after Kempe introduced the
"Battered Child Syndrome" a number of reports began to appear which suggested that abusive
parents were themselves abused as children (Curtis 1963; Galdston 1965; Wasserman 1973).
Since this concept was presented there has been a considerable amount of research done on
the subject. Steele (1983) declared that " with few exceptions, parents or other
caretakers who maltreat babies, were themselves neglected (with or without physical abuse)
in their own earliest years"(p. 235). In contrast, Cicchetti and Aber (1980) have asserted
that empirical support for intergenerational transmission is lacking. Kaufman and Zigler
(1987) reviewed evidence suggesting that abused children become abusive parents and
concluded that the case for transmission across generations has been overstated. Looking
back on past investigations gives support for intergenerational transmission, almost
without exception. These investigations identify maltreating parents and then interview
them about their own childhood. Investigations done with and without control groups
indicate abusing parents report high rates of having been abused physically during
childhood (Steele and Pollock 1974; Horowitz and Wollock 1981; Oliver 1978; Kotelchuk
1982; Friedrich and Wheeler 1982). Kaufman and Zigler have pointed out the problem with
using results stemming from retrospective investigations to estimate the effect of an
abused-abusing cycle. Because these investigations don't have access to parents who were
mistreated as children, they tend to overestimate the incidence of the
maltreated-maltreating cycle. There are also reasons why retrospective reports may
underestimate how many maltreating parents were themselves abused as children. One reason
may be that these adults believe that frequent experience with corporal punishment in
childhood, beatings, was normal. Kadushin and Martin (1981) found that nearly every report
of child abuse was precipitated by a behavior in the child that the parent felt called for
disciplinary action. Therefore, in part, this appears to be related to cultural acceptance
of violence (Hilberman 1980), but it also implies an identification with the parent's
views on corporal punishment. In one investigation (Kotelchuk 1982), parents were asked to
describe their childhood experience. Investigators coding the descriptions were far more
likely than parents to consider the experiences to have been abusive, on the other hand,
parents' responses to a direct question about having been abused were not related to
punitive treatment of their children. Though there has been a tremendous amount of
research done on this subject I believe that it is important to continue to research this
with the hope of finding a reason for this abuse and putting an end to it. For this reason
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