The relationship between childhood maltreatment and child-to-parent violence and abuse

Liew, Shi Hui (2021) The relationship between childhood maltreatment and child-to-parent violence and abuse. DForenPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Background: Child-to-parent violence and abuse continues to be largely understudied and poorly understood. This phenomenon refers to any non-fatal act(s), by a child, that causes physical, psychological, and/or financial harm to one’s parent(s). Several studies have explored the relationship between child-to-parent violence and abuse and childhood maltreatment. However, a consolidated understanding of this relationship is lacking. Research also tends to consider different types of abuse and neglect in isolation. Furthermore, the psychological mechanisms underlying the relationship remain largely theoretical. This thesis explored the relationship between five types of childhood maltreatment and three types of child-to-parent violence and abuse. Additionally, within these relationships, the explanatory roles of two symptoms of unresolved childhood maltreatment were clarified (i.e. PTSD symptoms and irrational beliefs). PTSD symptoms refer to intrusion, avoidance, and hyperarousal symptoms. Irrational beliefs refer to demandingness, low frustration tolerance, catastrophising, and depreciation beliefs.

Aims and Objectives: The main purpose of this research thesis was to expand the current knowledge base surrounding the relationship between childhood maltreatment and child-to-parent violence and abuse. Four research questions were explored in this thesis:

1. What is the relationship between experiencing childhood maltreatment and engaging in child-to-parent violence and abuse? (Chapter Two)

2. Which type(s) of childhood maltreatment predict(s) child-to-parent violence and abuse? (Chapter Four)

3. Will the experience of cumulative types of childhood maltreatment predict child-to-parent violence and abuse? (Chapter Four)

4. Do PTSD symptoms and irrational beliefs explain the relationship between childhood maltreatment and child-to-parent violence and abuse? (Chapter Five)

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analyses were conducted to consolidate existing findings regarding the relationship between childhood maltreatment and child-to-parent violence and abuse (Chapter Two). Thereafter, a cross-sectional, quantitative research was conducted; details of this research methodology were covered in Chapter Three. Female respondents, between ages 18 to 25, completed an online survey. It consisted of a demographic questionnaire, Adapted Adverse Childhood Experience-Revised, Impact of Event Scale-Revised, Abbreviated Attitudes and Belief Scale 2, and an Adapted Child-to-Parent Violence and Abuse questionnaire. This quantitative research consisted of two primary studies. The first primary study aimed to answer research questions two and three (Chapter Four). The second primary study aimed to answer the last research question (Chapter Five).

Results:

1. The meta-analyses results suggested that individuals who had experienced direct victimisation and/or were exposed to domestic violence were also more likely to have engaged in child-to-parent overall and physical violence and abuse. The narrative synthesis of the literature regarding child-to-parent psychological violence and abuse signalled a similar association between this type of child-to-parent violence and abuse and childhood maltreatment. (Chapter Two)

2. Primary study one results suggested that the likelihood of young female adults engaging in child-to-parent psychological violence and abuse increases with the experience of psychological abuse, psychological neglect, and more types of childhood maltreatment. The likelihood of young female adults engaging in child-to-parent physical violence and abuse was suggested to increase when the experience of psychological abuse or cumulative types of childhood maltreatment is present. No relationships were identified between child-to-parent financial abuse and specific or cumulative types of childhood maltreatment. (Chapter Four)

3. The results from primary study two found that, among young female adults, avoidance PTSD symptoms and catastrophising and depreciation beliefs were associated with the relationships between childhood maltreatment and child-to-parent psychological or physical violence and abuse. None of the mediators fully explained the five studied relationships. (Chapter 5)

Conclusion: The thesis reveals a complex interaction surrounding the experience of childhood maltreatment on an individual’s risk of engaging in child-to-parent violence and abuse. There is value in researchers and practitioners recognising the role of unresolved trauma symptoms, to understand and address child-to-parent physical and psychological violence and abuse. Using a multifaceted approach would be beneficial too. Lastly, current initiatives and efforts to prevent and support victims of childhood maltreatment should be continued.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DForenPsy)
Supervisors: Chou, Shihning
Guo, Boliang
Keywords: Parent-child relationships; Family violence; Child abuse; Post-traumatic stress disorder
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WA Public health
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 67164
Depositing User: Liew, Shi Hui
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 04:41
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2021 04:41
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/67164

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