Physical abuse is an act of a person involving contact of another person intended to cause feelings of physical pain, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm. In most cases, children are the victims of physical abuse, but adults can also be victims, such as in a domestic context. Alternative terms sometimes used include physical assault or physical violence, and may also include sexual abuse. Physical abuse may involve more than one abuser and more than one victim.
Physically abused children are at risk for later interpersonal problems involving aggressive behavior, and adolescents are at a much greater risk for substance abuse. In addition, symptoms of depression, emotional distress, and suicidal ideation are also common features of people who have been physically abused. Studies have also shown that children with a history of physical abuse may meet DSM-IV-TR criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Physical abuse has been described among animals too, for example among the Adélie penguins.
A number of causes of physical abuse against children have been identified, the most common of which, according to Mash and Wolfe, being:
- many abusive and neglectful parents have had little exposure to positive parental models and supports.
- there is often a greater degree of stress in the family environment.
- information-processing disturbances may cause maltreating parents to misperceive or mislabel their child's behavior, which leads to inappropriate responses.
- there is often a lack of awareness or understanding of developmentally appropriate expectations.
Consensual physical abuse
Physical abuse may be consensual, as in the case of some contact sports, and it is a common component of erotic humiliation and BDSM.
Seeking treatment is unlikely for a majority of people that are physically abused, and the ones who are seeking treatment are usually under some form of legal constraint. The prevention and treatment options for physically abused children include: enhancing positive experiences early in the development of the parent-child relationship, as well as changing how parents teach, discipline, and attend to their children. Evidence-based interventions include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as video-feedback interventions and child-parent psychodynamic psychotherapy; all of which specifically target anger patterns and distorted beliefs, and offer training and/or reflection, support, and modelling that focuses on parenting skills and expectations, as well as increasing empathy for the child by supporting the parent's taking the child's perspective. These forms of treatment may include training in social competence and management of daily demands in an effort to decrease parental stress, which is a known risk factor for physical abuse. Although these treatment and prevention strategies are to help children and parents of children who have been abused, some of these methods can also be applied to adults who have physically abused.
- ↑ Norway : Treatment Program For Men Who Batter (Haugan, Grethemor Skagseth and Nøttestad, Jim Aage. Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Trondheim, Norway)
- ↑ Child Abuse & Neglect: Physical Abuse (Giardino, Angelo P., Eileen R Giardino. 12 December 2008. eMedicine. WebMD)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mash, Eric (2010). Abnormal Child Psychology. Belmont,California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. pp. 427–463. ISBN 9780495506270.
- ↑ McKie, Robin (9 June 2012). "'Sexual depravity' of penguins that Antarctic scientist dared not reveal". Guardian.co.uk.
- ↑ Kolko, D. J. (1996). Individual cognitive-behavioral treatment and family therapy for physically abused children and their offending parents: A comparison of clinical outcomes. Child Maltreatment, 1, 322-342.
- ↑ Schechter DS, Myers MM, Brunelli SA, Coates SW, Zeanah CH, Davies M, Grienenberger JF, Marshall RD, McCaw JE, Trabka KA, Liebowitz MR (2006). Traumatized mothers can change their minds about their toddlers: Understanding how a novel use of videofeedback supports positive change of maternal attributions. Infant Mental Health Journal, 27(5), 429-448.
- ↑ Lieberman, A.F. (2007). "Ghosts and angels: Intergenerational patterns in the transmission and treatment of the traumatic sequelae of domestic violence". Infant Mental Health Journal 28 (4): 422–439. doi:10.1002/imhj.20145.