Child Victims' Attributions about Being Physically Abused: An Examination of Factors Associated with Symptom Severity
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- Brown, E.J. & Kolko, D.J. J Abnorm Child Psychol (1999) 27: 311. doi:10.1023/A:1022610709748
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The goal of the present study was to examine a conceptual attributional model for the development of psychopathology after child physical abuse. Physically abused or maltreated children referred for treatment completed a series of measures to assess parent-to-child violence, abuse-specific attributions and general attributional style, other potential predictors, and children's psychopathology. Results revealed that the severity of current parent-to-child violence was associated with children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Attributions predicted the level of children's psychopathology beyond the variance accounted for by the severity of parent-to-child violence. The severity of parent-to-child violence, attributions about the abuse, general attributional style, and level of family functioning accounted for 28%–63% of the variance in children's abuse-specific, internalizing, and externalizing symptoms. Implications of the findings and research recommendations are discussed.