Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 163–175 | Cite as

Parents Who Abuse: What Are They Thinking?

  • Alexandra C. Seng
  • Ronald J. Prinz


Child abuse is a major social concern around the world. Important to tackling the problem is an understanding of the mechanisms contributing to abusive parenting. This article brings together research on the cognitive variables associated with abusive or high-risk parenting. Considered are dysfunctional child-centered and parent-centered cognitions as potentially critical correlates of abusive behavior. The development of dysfunctional cognitions is also explored. Cognitive vulnerabilities alone are typically not sufficient for the occurrence of abuse. Interactions with additional factors, such as an ability to inhibit aggression, problem-solving capabilities, parenting skills, social isolation, and societal context are examined.


Child abuse Cognitions Parenting Dysfunctional processes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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