ERIC Number: EJ698098
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
General Population Norms about Child Abuse and Neglect and Associations with Childhood Experiences
Bensley, L.; Ruggles, D.; Simmons, K.W.; Harris, C.; Williams, K.; Putvin, T.; Allen, M.
Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, v28 n12 p1321-1337 Dec 2004
Background:: A variety of definitions of child abuse and neglect exist. However, little is known about norms in the general population as to what constitutes child abuse and neglect or how perceived norms may be related to personal experiences. Methods:: We conducted a random-digit-dialed telephone survey of 504 Washington State adults. Respondents were asked whether they believed each of 34 behaviors, identified in focus groups as possibly physically, sexually or emotionally abusive or neglectful, constituted abuse or neglect. Then, they were asked whether they had experienced 33 of the behaviors. Results:: Five of the six behaviors with the highest levels of consensus were for sexual abuse, whereas only one emotionally abusive behavior had a high level of consensus (95% agreement). Consensus that spanking constituted abuse increased with severity. Those respondents who reported experiencing a particular behavior were significantly less likely to believe the behavior abusive for 11 of the 33 behaviors and more likely to believe the behavior abusive for two of the behaviors. Where comparisons were possible, there was a high level of consensus that behaviors identified as abusive in Child Protective Service operational definitions constituted abuse. Conclusions:: Self-reported childhood experiences were associated with perceived norms about child abuse. A better understanding of community norms about child abuse and neglect may be helpful in communicating with the public or allow for better targeting of educational messages through the media, parenting education classes, and so forth.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington