Violence within the Family: Social Psychological Perspectives

Violence within the Family: Social Psychological Perspectives

Violence within the Family: Social Psychological Perspectives

Violence within the Family: Social Psychological Perspectives

Synopsis

Perhaps one-fifth of all marriages are tainted by violence, and an equal number of children are harmed by parents. Abuse of elderly relatives is just beginning to be recognized as a major social problem, but the most common form of family violence occurs between siblings. Violence Within the Family connects the study of child, partner, sibling, and elderly abuse to the varied disciplinary perspectives of social psychology, drawing on research on aggression, attitude formation and change, self-perception, social cognition, gender roles, and group dynamics. The book covers the biological and social causes of aggression, the consequences of violence towards an intimate family member, and prevention and treatment strategies. Sharon Herzberger also addresses important policy issues and explores today's hard questions: Does a child who is abused grow up to become an abuser? Can anyone, given the right circumstances, inflict violence on a family member? Why do victims of partner abuse remain with the perpetrator? Should we arrest perpetrators of family violence, and under what conditions does arrest do more harm than good? Why can't we prosecute family violence more effectively?Answering widespread interest in this compelling topic, Herzberger's book will appeal to laypeople and professionals in criminal justice, family systems, public policy, psychology, and sociology. It will also serve as a valuable text for advanced courses or as a supplementary text for introductory courses.

Excerpt

Pick up any newspaper and you can probably find a story about a case of family violence. One prominently featured case involved two brothers who killed their parents to escape from abuse (as the defense claimed) or to inherit their parents' estate (as the prosecution contended). Another story featured a wife who mutilated her husband allegedly after being raped. Less sensational stories, receiving only fleeting and local concern, can be found almost daily. Although we like to think of our home as a place of refuge and support, the stories remind us that the home can be dangerous and depressing for all too many people.

Perhaps one-fifth of all marriages are tainted by violence, and an equal number of parents may harm their children. Violence against elderly relatives is not well understood, but we are beginning to recognize it as a major social problem. And the most common form of family violence, receiving little attention and less sympathy, occurs between siblings. We do not even understand its impact.

Over the years there have been many books written on family violence. This book is different because it places the topic of family violence within the disciplinary perspectives of social psychology. Family violence is an ideal subject for the application of social psychological theory and research. It draws upon the familiar topics of aggression, attitude formation and change, self-perception, social cognition, gender roles, and group processes. In this book you will learn about the biological and social causes of aggression within families and its consequences. You also will study ways to prevent violence, as well as to treat it, and examine characteristics of families that facilitate or inhibit the use of aggression to solve conflicts.

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