Childhood Parenting Experiences, Intimate Partner Conflict Resolution and Risk for Child Physical Abuse,
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Within the context of social interactional models of child physical abuse, social learning theory provides a conceptual basis for the view that childhood experiences in the family of origin contribute to the risk of child abuse during adulthood e.g., see Tzeng, Jackson, Karlson, 1991, pp. 94-98. Aggressive behavior patterns are thought to develop, in part, as a result of observational learning where children engage in behaviors they have experienced and witnessed Bandura, 1977. In a narrow view, the intergenerational transmission of abuse hypothesis suggests the childhood experience of parental physical abuse increases the likelihood of later adult child physical abuse. In a broader conceptualization, the experience of aversive parenting behavior e.g., verbal aggression and physical violence, the lack of positive parenting behavior e.g., reasoning and nurturing behaviors, and the observation of spouse abuse are believed to contribute to child physical abuse. In addition, it is believed that children who are subjected to physically violent parenting behaviors, compared to children who are not, are more likely to develop a pattern of aggressive behavior during childhood, exhibiting aggressive behavior in their peer and, later, in their adult relationships. Almost two decades ago, Steinmetz 1977 noted that clinical evidence indicated violent individuals often experienced childhood abuse and observed spouse abuse between their parents.
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