Academic journal article The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

Child-to-Parent Violence: The Role of Exposure to Violence and Its Relationship to Social-Cognitive processing/Violencia Filio-Parental: El Papel De la Exposición a la Violencia Y Su Relación Con El Procesamiento Sociocognitivo

Academic journal article The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

Child-to-Parent Violence: The Role of Exposure to Violence and Its Relationship to Social-Cognitive processing/Violencia Filio-Parental: El Papel De la Exposición a la Violencia Y Su Relación Con El Procesamiento Sociocognitivo

Article excerpt

Research on family violence has been traditionally focused on both partner violence and parent-to-child abuse. However, another type of violence within the family has risen in the latest decade, with an increasing number of cases where violence is exerted by children and adolescents towards parents, which is known as child-to-parent violence (CPV). This subtype of family violence, defined by Cottrell (2001) as "any act of a child that is intended to cause physical, psychological, or financial damage to gain power and control over a parent" (p. 3), has become a matter of concern not only for society in general, but also among professionals and researchers from different countries (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, & García-Salvador, 2014; Contreras & Cano, 2014a, 2014b; Ibabe, Arnoso, & Elgorriaga, 2014; Pagani et al., 2004, 2009; Routt & Anderson, 2011). However, similarly to other forms of family violence, victims tend to hide the abuse. To be precise, parents are unwilling to report their children's abuse in the Juvenile Court, which increases the probability of being an underestimated phenomenon in terms of the number of official reports. Nevertheless, an important source of information about the extent of CPV is provided by the studies, especially with community samples, in which children and adolescents (perpetrators) report the information about CPV incidents.

Data from the United States report that CPV occurs between 7 and 18% in two-parent families, increasing to 29% in single-parent homes, whereas prevalence rates in Canada and France are lower (see review by Kennair & Mellor, 2007). Recently, Margolin and Baucom (2014) conducted a study with a community sample of adolescents from the US, assessing the prevalence of CPV by using an ad hoc questionnaire. These authors found that 22% of adolescents had attacked physically one of their parents, and that 75% had attacked them verbally. In Spain, a recent study with a community sample of 1,698 adolescent students (CPV was measured by using the Child-to-Parent Agression Questionnaire; Calvete et al., 2013) revealed that 13.7% of participants had physically assaulted their parents at least once in the past year, and almost all adolescents had displayed some behavior regarded as psychological aggression against their parents (92% towards the mother and 86% towards the father) (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, & Orue, 2014).

As Brezina (1999) pointed out, this type of family violence presents some peculiarities, especially concerning the victim and the perpetrator who are implied, which makes it a special issue, since adolescents abuse those who should represent authority and should be their carers (Ibabe & Bentler, 2016) Thus, it represents a different category of family violence characterized by an inversion of normal family power relationships among family members whereby teenagers believe they are "in charge" of the home (Tew & Nixon, 2010). In respect of the perpetrator gender, results vary according to the research methodology used. Studies with forensic samples reveal that the majority of offenders are males, whereas the victims are usually females (Condry & Miles, 2014; Contreras & Cano, 2014b; Kethineni, 2004; Ibabe et al., 2014; Routt & Anderson, 2011), being the peak age of offending between 14 and 17 years (Condry & Miles, 2014; Kethineni, 2004). However, research with community samples reports different results according to the perpetrator and the victim gender, along with the type and severity of violence. For example, Calvete et al. (2013) found that girls showed higher rates of aggression than boys in psychological and physical aggression against parents, with no significant differences in severe physical aggression. Regarding parents gender, the prevalence of psychological aggression against the mother was greater than against the father, although there were no differences in terms of severe psychological aggression. Otherwise, Ibabe, Jaureguizar, and Bentler (2013) reported that in general, adolescents were found to be more psychologically violent and emotionally violent towards mothers than towards fathers, with no differences for physical violence. …

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