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ERIC Number: ED170030
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Child Abuse and the Development of a Parental Consciousness.
Newberger, Carolyn Moore
This paper presents a clinical-developmental discussion of eight parents with a history of having abused a child and outlines a larger developmental analysis of parental conceptions about children and child rearing which was validated on a broad cross-section of 55 parents. From logical analysis and empirical interview data, four developmental levels of parental reasoning, which describe an increasingly conceptually adequate understanding of children and the parental role, were identified. The four levels were Egoistic Orientation, Conventional Orientation, Subjective-Individualistic Orientation, and Process or Interactional Orientation. As a group, the eight parents studied expressed significantly lower mean levels of parental reasoning than matched controls. These findings are reviewed in the light of recent advances in clinical approaches to child abuse. The clinical utility of developmental and conceptual approaches to parental functioning is discussed. Parental consciousness and stress factors are reviewed in order to identify interactions which appear to weaken or to protect the parent-child bond. A developmental analysis is said to allow sources of competence and strength as well as sources of vulnerability to be identified. It is noted that consideration of the interactions among the several factors which may influence parenting permits increasingly precise discriminations of how and for whom certain circumstances and characteristics are implicated in seriously troubled parent-child relationships. (Author/MP)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (San Francisco, California, March 15-18, 1979)