Monday, April 29, 2013

Personality Disorders and Parents Accused of Physical Abuse or Neglect

Parents who are accused or believed of abusing their children have been a major focus in fields of psychology for many years. Both the child and the parents are typically studied in various ways and for various reasons. The goal of this specific study was to demonstrate a psychological profile of parents who have been accused of mistreating their children. A clinical group of 16 parents accused of physical abuse and 22 parents accused of neglect were compared with 18 parents from a control group. The test, "MCMI-III" was given to each parent individually. Both groups of abuse or mistreatment showed significant differences on different scales and no difference was seen within both groups of abuse when compared to one another. The article states, "many parents of both child maltreatment groups reported at least one form of abuse during their childhood, which suggests that a childhood marked by abuse or neglect on the part of a parent could result in personality disorders and that these disorders may have something to do with the intergenerational transmission of abuse."

The purpose of this particular study was to describe an overall and well-defined profile of the personality traits of parents who had been accused of physical abuse or neglect in comparison to a control group of parents. The outcome and findings of this study allows for the following hypotheses to be determined: "(a) Parents from the maltreatment groups (physical abuse or neglect) will have significantly higher scores than the control group on the personality disorders and clinical syndromes scales; (b) Parents from the maltreatment groups will have significantly higher scores than the control group on the scales for anxiety, dysthymia, major
depression, alcohol abuse and drug abuse; (c) The physical abuse group will have significantly higher scores than the neglectful group for the antisocial and borderline scales, given the propensity of these two personality disorders to move into action; and (d) There should not be any significant difference between the abusive group and the neglectful group regarding the tendencies to present personality traits or disorders for clusters A (odd or eccentric) or C (anxious or fearful)."

In my opinion this article makes a lot of sense, although I also think that neglect and abuse to children can be formed from other underlying problems of a parent. The majority of parents who do such actions to their children have been victims of abuse or neglect, but I also think that most parents who have been through such, would want to break the cycle and not continue this pattern of abuse. So in my opinion, this article would only apply to a specific type of person or parent, which in this study, the majority showed previous victims of abuse.

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