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effects_of_family_structure_on_child_abuse [2015/11/12 11:14]
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effects_of_family_structure_on_child_abuse [2017/05/23 07:11] (current)
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 ==========Effects of Family Structure on Child Abuse========== ==========Effects of Family Structure on Child Abuse==========
  
-Today, more Americans live in a manner that separates the bearing and raising of children from traditional marriage. This undermines the well-being of children. Since 1950, the Index of Belonging for U.S. teenagers—the number of teens raised in an intact married family, has decreased from 63 percent to 46 percent.((Patrick F. Fagan and Christina Hadford, “The Fifth Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection,​” Marriage and Religion Research Institute (2015). Available at [[http://​marri.us/​get.cfm?​i=OR15B02]])) The United States increasingly is becoming a country of second-, third-, and even fourth-generation marriage-less "​families."​ In such circumstances,​ as the research shows, children are most likely to suffer abuse and neglect, and new subcultures of [[child_abuse_in_the_united_states|abuse]] are more likely to be established.+Today, more Americans live in a manner that separates the bearing and raising of children from traditional marriage. This undermines the well-being of children. Since 1950, the Index of Belonging for U.S. teenagers—the number of teens raised in an intact married family, has decreased from 63 percent to 46 percent.((Patrick F. Fagan and Christina Hadford, “The Fifth Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection,​” Marriage and Religion Research Institute (2015). Available at [[http://​marri.us/​research/​research-papers/​fifth-annual-index-of-belonging-and-rejection/​]])) The United States increasingly is becoming a country of second-, third-, and even fourth-generation marriage-less "​families."​ In such circumstances,​ as the research shows, children are most likely to suffer abuse and neglect, and new subcultures of [[child_abuse_in_the_united_states|abuse]] are more likely to be established.
  
 =====1. The Intact Married Family===== =====1. The Intact Married Family=====
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 Although the sexual act can be an occasion of great intimacy and love resulting in new life, it also can be a violent or meaningless act resulting in profound alienation and fragmentation of the family. Among America'​s poor, the latter is increasingly the case. In 2013, 70.5 percent of children living below poverty were raised in [[effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates|non-intact families]].((//​American Community Survey//, U.S. Census Bureau (2013).)) These poorest of the poor, more than anyone else, need the support of an intimate community and can least afford the [[effects_of_community_environment_on_juvenile_crime_rates|community'​s destruction]]. The children of the poor have the [[effects_of_marriage_on_child_poverty|greatest need for married families]], yet they are the least likely to have them. Although the sexual act can be an occasion of great intimacy and love resulting in new life, it also can be a violent or meaningless act resulting in profound alienation and fragmentation of the family. Among America'​s poor, the latter is increasingly the case. In 2013, 70.5 percent of children living below poverty were raised in [[effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates|non-intact families]].((//​American Community Survey//, U.S. Census Bureau (2013).)) These poorest of the poor, more than anyone else, need the support of an intimate community and can least afford the [[effects_of_community_environment_on_juvenile_crime_rates|community'​s destruction]]. The children of the poor have the [[effects_of_marriage_on_child_poverty|greatest need for married families]], yet they are the least likely to have them.
  
-Traditionally,​ the variable used to explain a rise in the incidence of child abuse has been poverty. The National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect illustrates this pro-poverty bias.((U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect //The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect// Andrea J. Sedlak, Ph.D., and Diane D. Broadhurst, M.L.A., (NIS-3): Final Report, (Washington,​ D.C., September 1996), 55.)) However, Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island Department of Sociology, a recognized expert on abuse, has shown that it is the presence or absence of adult support that makes the greatest difference in determining whether [[demographics_of_child_abuse|child abuse is likely to be present]] or absent within poor families.((Richard Gelles, "​Poverty and Violence Toward Children,"​ //American Behavioral Scientist// 35, no. 3 (1992): 258-274, and "Child Abuse and Violence in Single Parent Families,"​ //American Journal of Orthopsychiatry//​ 59 (1989): 492-501.)) The Fourth Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect has also confirmed ​this.+Traditionally,​ the variable used to explain a rise in the incidence of child abuse has been poverty. The National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect illustrates this pro-poverty bias.((U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect //The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect// Andrea J. Sedlak, Ph.D., and Diane D. Broadhurst, M.L.A., (NIS-3): Final Report, (Washington,​ D.C., September 1996), 55.)) However, Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island Department of Sociology, a recognized expert on abuse, has shown that it is the presence or absence of adult support that makes the greatest difference in determining whether [[demographics_of_child_abuse|child abuse is likely to be present]] or absent within poor families.((Richard Gelles, "​Poverty and Violence Toward Children,"​ //American Behavioral Scientist// 35, no. 3 (1992): 258-274, and "Child Abuse and Violence in Single Parent Families,"​ //American Journal of Orthopsychiatry//​ 59 (1989): 492-501.)) 
 + 
 +The Fourth Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect has also confirmed ​that marriage provides the [[link_between_family_structure_and_child_abuse|safest environment for children]]This federal survey shows that the family environment with the lowest risk ratio for physical abuse is the intact married family: 
 +  * **The rate of physical abuse is 3 times higher** in the single parent family. 
 +  * **The rate of physical abuse is 4 times higher** if mother is cohabiting with the child’s biological father (unmarried). 
 +  * **The rate of physical abuse is 5 times higher** if the child is living in a married step family. 
 +  * **The rate of physical abuse is 10 times higher** if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend. 
 + 
 +{{ :​relative_rates_of_physical_abuse.png?​direct&​500 |Relative Rates of Physical Abuse}} 
 + 
 +For sexual abuse the rates are even higher. Compared to the always intact married family: 
 +  * **The rate of sexual abuse is 5 times higher** in the single parent family and when both biological parents are cohabiting (i.e. unmarried). 
 +  * **The rate of sexual abuse is 8.6 times higher** if the child is living in a married step family. 
 +  * **The rate of sexual abuse is 20 times higher** if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend. 
 + 
 +{{ :​relative_rates_of_sexual_abuse.png?​direct&​500 |Relative Rates of Sexual Abuse}}
  
-Marriage provides the [[link_between_family_structure_and_child_abuse|safest environment for children]]. It therefore truly makes a difference in advancing the safety and well-being of America'​s children. 
 =====2. The Non-Intact Family===== =====2. The Non-Intact Family=====
  
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 The most likely causes of child abuse by a mother, in fact, can be traced to the violence and substance abuse present in the mother'​s childhood, followed by the stress and discord in her current household. A woman with a history of child abuse, and who lived in a violent community and had lower authoritarian parenting styles has a more serious risk for [[demographics_of_child_abuse|intergenerational transmission]] of child abuse.((Kristin Valentino, Amy K. Nuttall, Michelle Comas, John G. Borkowski, and Carol E. Akai, “Intergenerational Continuity of Child Abuse Among Adolescent Mothers: Authoritarian Parenting, Community Violence, and Race,” //Child Maltreatment//​ 17, no 2 (2012). )) This is capped by her own victimization,​((Suzanne Salzinger, Richard S. Feldman, Muriel Hammer, and Margaret Rosario, “Constellation of Family Violence and Their Differential Effects on Children’s Behavioral Disturbance,"​ //Child and Family Behavior Therapy// 14, no. 4 (1993): 23-41.)) and leads to increased illness and a hypersensitivity to the annoyances that children cause.((Joel S. Milner, Kevin R. Robertson, and Debbie L. Rogers, “Childhood History of Abuse and Adult Children Abuse Potential,​” //Journal of Family Violence// 5, no. 1 (1990): 15-34.)) In the period between her early experience with abusing parents and her later experiences with an abusing "​mate,"​ the future abusing mother frequently becomes more aggressive and deviant, developing a hostile and rebellious way of acting. She will associate more with men of similar hostility and eventually will "​marry"​ them, becoming an abused spouse herself.((Ronald L. Simons, Christine Johnson, Jay Beaman, et al., "​Explaining Women'​s Double Jeopardy: Factors That Mediate the Association Between Harsh Treatment as a Child and Violence by a Husband,"​ //Journal of Marriage and the Family// 55, no. 3 (1993): 713-723. )) The most likely causes of child abuse by a mother, in fact, can be traced to the violence and substance abuse present in the mother'​s childhood, followed by the stress and discord in her current household. A woman with a history of child abuse, and who lived in a violent community and had lower authoritarian parenting styles has a more serious risk for [[demographics_of_child_abuse|intergenerational transmission]] of child abuse.((Kristin Valentino, Amy K. Nuttall, Michelle Comas, John G. Borkowski, and Carol E. Akai, “Intergenerational Continuity of Child Abuse Among Adolescent Mothers: Authoritarian Parenting, Community Violence, and Race,” //Child Maltreatment//​ 17, no 2 (2012). )) This is capped by her own victimization,​((Suzanne Salzinger, Richard S. Feldman, Muriel Hammer, and Margaret Rosario, “Constellation of Family Violence and Their Differential Effects on Children’s Behavioral Disturbance,"​ //Child and Family Behavior Therapy// 14, no. 4 (1993): 23-41.)) and leads to increased illness and a hypersensitivity to the annoyances that children cause.((Joel S. Milner, Kevin R. Robertson, and Debbie L. Rogers, “Childhood History of Abuse and Adult Children Abuse Potential,​” //Journal of Family Violence// 5, no. 1 (1990): 15-34.)) In the period between her early experience with abusing parents and her later experiences with an abusing "​mate,"​ the future abusing mother frequently becomes more aggressive and deviant, developing a hostile and rebellious way of acting. She will associate more with men of similar hostility and eventually will "​marry"​ them, becoming an abused spouse herself.((Ronald L. Simons, Christine Johnson, Jay Beaman, et al., "​Explaining Women'​s Double Jeopardy: Factors That Mediate the Association Between Harsh Treatment as a Child and Violence by a Husband,"​ //Journal of Marriage and the Family// 55, no. 3 (1993): 713-723. ))
  
-Children are at risk of being abused if they are in families in which they see abuse. Thus, child abuse often is linked closely to abuse of the mother. Significantly,​ in one study, 90 percent of women residing in shelters for battered women and children said their children were in the same room or the next room while they were being abused.((Honore M. Hughes, "​Impact of Spouse Abuse on Children of Battered Women,"​ //Violence Update//, Vol. 2, No. 12 (August ​1992).)) This is telling because abused mothers were eight times more likely to hurt their children when they were being battered than when they were safe from their violent partners.((Jann Jackson, ​"Intervention with Children Who Have Witnessed Abuse," ​House of Ruth, Baltimore, ​Md))+Children are at risk of being abused if they are in families in which they see abuse. Thus, child abuse often is linked closely to abuse of the mother. Significantly,​ in one study, 90 percent of women residing in shelters for battered women and children said their children were in the same room or the next room while they were being abused.((Honore M. Hughes, "​Impact of Spouse Abuse on Children of Battered Women,"​ //Violence Update// 2, no. 12 (1992).)) This is telling because abused mothers were eight times more likely to hurt their children when they were being battered than when they were safe from their violent partners.((Jann Jackson, ​//Intervention with Children Who Have Witnessed Abuse//(House of Ruth, Baltimore, ​MD).))
  
-Considering this type of family background, it is no wonder that abusing families((Bonnie L. Yegidis, “Family Violence: Contemporary Research Findings and Practice Issues,” //Community Mental Health Journal// 28, no. 6 (1992): 519-530. )) and mothers((J. Bowlby, "​Violence in the Family as a Disorder of the Attachment and Caregiving Systems,"​ //American Journal of Psychoanalysis//​ 44, no.1 (1984): 9-27.)) often are the most isolated. Increasingly,​ this isolation is most evident in the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. According to the NIS-3 survey, these [[effect_of_community_environment_on_child_abuse|communities]] have the highest incidence of serious abuse.((Sedlak,​ Mettenburg, Basena, Petta, McPherson, Greene, and Li., //Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect//, ​p.147))+Considering this type of family background, it is no wonder that abusing families((Bonnie L. Yegidis, “Family Violence: Contemporary Research Findings and Practice Issues,” //Community Mental Health Journal// 28, no. 6 (1992): 519-530. )) and mothers((J. Bowlby, "​Violence in the Family as a Disorder of the Attachment and Caregiving Systems,"​ //American Journal of Psychoanalysis//​ 44, no.1 (1984): 9-27.)) often are the most isolated. Increasingly,​ this isolation is most evident in the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. According to the NIS-3 survey, these [[effect_of_community_environment_on_child_abuse|communities]] have the highest incidence of serious abuse.((Sedlak,​ Mettenburg, Basena, Petta, McPherson, Greene, and Li., //Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect//, 147))
  
-Tragically, changes in community moral norms over the past five decades are reflected in the profile of the [[effects_of_maternal_attachment_on_crime_rates|child-killing mother]]. As compared with her counterpart 50 years ago, the mother who kills her children today is younger, has more children, and exhibits less of a conscience.((R. Weisheit, "When Mothers Kill Their Children,"​ //The Social Science Journal//, Vol. 23, No. 4 (1986), pp. 439-448.+Tragically, changes in community moral norms over the past five decades are reflected in the profile of the [[effects_of_maternal_attachment_on_crime_rates|child-killing mother]]. As compared with her counterpart 50 years ago, the mother who kills her children today is younger, has more children, and exhibits less of a conscience.((R. Weisheit, "When Mothers Kill Their Children,"​ //The Social Science Journal// 23, no. 4 (1986)439-448.
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