The Causes of Child Abuse and Neglect and the Long Term Effects on Human Development from Infancy to Adulthood Sheila Y. Boone
December 10, 2008
Child abuse and neglect is a prevalent issue in the United States. Every year approximately one million infants, children and adolescents are victims of child abuse and neglect. Research has linked childhood experiences of abuse and neglect with some serious life-long developmental, social, emotional and other significant problems. This paper will address risk factors that are associated with abuse and neglect, who is at risk for being abused, as well as some traits of the abuser. This paper will incorporate child development across the lifespan, as well as some information about how abuse and neglect affects a child’s language, cognitive, social/emotional, motor and adaptive skills, as well as physical health. Effective parenting techniques and strategies for prevention and intervention will be shared.
Child and abuse and neglect can have significant negative developmental impacts on children from infancy to adulthood. “Child maltreatment is a broad, all-encompassing term used to describe the many ways that children may be mistreated by adults in their lives. Child maltreatment can be defined as a behavior towards another person, which is outside the norms of conduct and entails a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm to the child. Maltreatment is divided into four main categories: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional maltreatment and neglect.” (Tyler, Allison & Winsler, 2006) Literature Review
According to (Herrenkohl & Herrenkohl, 2007), there is “a strong association between maltreatment and environmental and family stressors and the long term outcomes of the child.” Fathers or male caregivers, perpetrate a substantial proportion of child physical abuse in North America. Research indicates that fathers have less empathy for their children, which interferes with the ability to meet the needs of their children and is associated with aggression. The majority of fatalities resulting from physical abuse are associated with the father or male caregiver.” (Francis & Wolfe, 2008) However, mothers or female caregivers make up a percentage of abusers as well.
Mental health concerns, particularly, a history of substance abuse and violent behavior has been identified as risk factors in fathers or male caregivers. One study that was done showed that a “history of substance abuse or dependence was identified in 85% of the males sampled and three quarters had a history of having police involvement due to violent behavior”. (Francis & Wolfe, 2008)
Research has also shown that “children born to adolescent mothers are also at risk of being abused or neglected”. (Lounds, Borkowski & Whitman, 2006) Children born to adolescent mothers are likely to experience more adverse developmental outcomes than children born to adult mothers, including delays in intellectual, linguistic and visual-motor functioning as well as academic readiness and performance during elementary years. “Higher levels or academic and behavioral problems are typically reported during adolescents, with more than 50% of children born to teen mothers repeating a grade prior to age 17.” (Lounds, Borkowski & Whitman, 2006) Adolescent mothers are defined as being “younger than 20 at birth of the first child and the vast majority live in conditions at or below the poverty line.” (Lounds, Borkowski & Whitman, 2006)
There are several factors relating to the abused or neglected child. There are risk factors associated with the characteristic of the child, factors associated with the home environment and factors that relate to the traits of the abuser. According to (Connell-Carrick & Scannapieco, 2006), “children with families with at least one child aged 0 to 36 months who had a substantiated case of child neglect...