The Effects of Abuse and Neglect on Juvenile Behavior
The term child abuse covers a wide range of behavior, from physical assault to simple neglect of a child's basic needs. Sometimes child abuse is referred to as child maltreatment. It is not limited to anyone; it happens in various income, racial, religious, and ethnic groups and in urban and rural communities. Many children in the United States remain at risk of abuse. It has become a major social problem and a main cause of many people's suffering and personal problems. Child abuse doesn’t necessarily have to be physical, it can be mental, emotional, or sexual; it can even be neglect that has immediate and long-term effects on a child's development. Child abuse can affect the child in many different ways; however, it doesn’t only affect the child being abused, but it also affects the people witnessing the abuse. The long-term effects of abuse and neglect of a child can be seen in mental disorders, increased rates of substance abuse, and relationship difficulties. Child abuse and neglect are huge problems. People that abuse are people who have been abused and neglected themselves. However, not all victims of child abuse and neglect experience mental health issues or behavioral consequences. Child Welfare Information Gateway (2008) explained when discussing this topic, it is usually grouped in terms of psychological, physical, behavioral, and societal consequences. It is obvious that physical consequences (if caused by trauma to the brain) cause psychological damage in thinking and emotional difficulties. These types of problems are usually noticeable as high-risk behaviors. High-risk behaviors can turn into long-term health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, and cancer (CWIG, 2008). Research on high-risk youths, such as juvenile detainees, is of particular importance, because these youths have an increased likelihood of future deviant behavior and because of the opportunity to introduce effective intervention strategies into the juvenile justice system. High-risk populations can also be expected to contain sufficient variability among key variables, including childhood maltreatment and drug use (Dembo, Williams, La Voie, & Berry, 1989). According to Hays; Judd and Kenny, this circumvents the statistical problem of restricted range, which often plagues research using cohorts of high school or college students (as cited in Dembo, Williams, La Voie, & Berry, 1989). According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (2008), “an estimated 905,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2006”. Physical injuries may or may not be immediately visible; however, abuse and neglect can have consequences for children, families, and society that last lifetimes, if not generations (HHS, 2008). In 2005, among 3.6 million investigations by Child Protective Services agencies in the U.S., an estimated 899,000 children (24.97%) were confirmed to be victims of child abuse (Children’s Bureau, 2005). The studies of Gerwitz and Edleson; Watts-English, Forston, Gibier, Hooper and De-Billis, explained that from a developmental perspective, child maltreatment, especially in early childhood, may have adverse short- and long-term consequences on youth and adult development (as cited in Maschi, Morgen, Hatcher, Rosato, & Violette, 2009). According to the studies of Bank and Burraston; Hecht Sc Hansen; Kilpatrick, Saunders and Smith; and Smith and Thornberry, these adverse effects may affect youths in psychological, cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioral domains. These adverse effects may begin in childhood and continue into adolescence and adulthood (as cited in Maschi et al., 2009). Stanger, Achenbach and McConaugh; Votta and Manion emphasized that although maltreated youths' internalizing behavior may manifest as mild to severe symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or suicidal behavior, if recognized,...
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