A study of the generational factor in child abuse

Sheppard, George Mancel (1980) A study of the generational factor in child abuse. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Many attempts have been made to determine the causative factors associated with child abuse and a wide variety of explanations has been offered. One of the most persistent viewpoints is known as the Generational Factor - the view that parents who abuse their children were themselves abused in childhood. -- A review of child welfare and related literature revealed that, while the Generational Factor viewpoint was widely accepted and was supported by Learning Theory, no studies had been specifically undertaken to test its assumptions. Instead, opinion of the Generational Factor generally originated as a tangential issue emanating from other studies. -- This study was undertaken to examine specifically the Generational Factor - to determine with empirical evidence whether or not parents who abuse their children were themselves abused in childhood or were raised in environments where they were subjected to violent physical aggression and violently aggressive language. Hypotheses and a major proposition were developed for specific testing purposes and a study questionnaire was developed and pre-tested. -- In co-operation with the Provincial Department of Social Services, a methodology for testing the hypotheses was developed. Individuals who were identified as child abusers were selected and a comparison group of non-abusing individuals was matched with them using randomization procedures. Each selected participant was then visited by an interviewer and a questionnaire was completed. Completed questionnaires were kept confidential and following recording of the data on computer coding forms, the identifying code sheet was destroyed. A computer program was then devised and the groups were compared using Chi-Square and t-test statistical procedures. -- Upon analysis of the data, it was found that the groups differed significantly on a number of variables. For example, the respondents who abuse their children were found to have been hit and bruised more frequently and generally subjected to a more violent and a less loving family environment, as children, than the Comparison respondents. As well, the abusing respondents indicated that their parents were more violent toward each other and experienced less marital satisfaction and less parenting satisfaction than the parents of the Comparison respondents. -- On the basis of the evidence, the majority of the hypotheses were validated and the major proposition of the study was accepted - providing empirical evidence to support the Generational Factor.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11418
Item ID: 11418
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 99-102.
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 1980
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Child abuse; Parent and child.

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