Magazine article Science News

Charting the Aftermath of Child Abuse

Magazine article Science News

Charting the Aftermath of Child Abuse

Article excerpt

Charting the aftermath of child abuse

Children experiencing physical abuse at home show an excess of aggressive and violent behavior by the time they enter kindergarten, regardless of whether they come from well-off or poor families, live in two- or one-parent homes or regularly observe cooperative or physically violent behavior among adults, according to a report in the Dec. 21 SCIENCE.

Many abused children display remarkable emotional resilience, says psychologist Kenneth A. Dodge of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who conducted the study with John E. Bates of Indiana University in Bloomington and Gregory S. Pettit of Auburn (Ala.) University. But at school, about one-third of these kids continually express anger and provoke conflict. Abused children often misinterpret frustrating social encounters, unfailingly attribute hostile intentions to others, and view aggression as the only solution to problems with teachers or classmates, Dodge says.

The researcher studied 309 kindergarten, all 4 years old when the study began. Physical examinations and interviews with mothers identified 46 children subjected to consistent physical abuse at home. A nearly equal number of boys and girls fell into the abused category, Dodge notes. …

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