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ERIC Number: EJ820327
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Cognitive and Emotional Differences between Abusive and Non-Abusive Fathers
Francis, Karen J.; Wolfe, David A.
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v32 n12 p1127-1137 Dec 2008
Objective: Abusive fathers perpetrate a substantial portion of child physical abuse. Despite this, little is known about how they differ from non-abusive fathers. This study compared a broad range of cognitive and affective factors between physically abusive and non-abusive fathers. Methods: Abusive (n = 24) and non-abusive (n = 25) fathers completed standard measures assessing their experience and expression of anger, mental health, parenting stress, and their empathy and perceptions of children's socio-emotional signals. Results: Abusive fathers differed from comparisons on almost all constructs. They experienced more anger and were more likely to express that anger aggressively. They reported more mental health concerns (such as depression, hostility, and paranoid ideation), more stress in parenting, and significantly less empathy for their children. They were also more likely to perceive children's emotional expressions as depicting negative emotions, such as anger and disgust. Conclusions: Abusive fathers struggle with a myriad of difficulties that likely contribute to their problematic parenting. These difficulties are both inter- and intra-personal in nature. Practice implications: The findings suggest that abusive fathers require comprehensive assessment that includes mental health screening. Interventions should be selected carefully to target abusive fathers' high levels of negative affect and negative perceptions. Treatment strategies should address problems related to parenting style (e.g., managing stress and interpretation of children's socioemotional signals) as well as their personal adjustment (e.g., cognitive behavioral strategies for regulating affect and cognitive distortions). (Contains 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A