Parent Abuse: A Review

  • Nicola Kennair
  • David MellorEmail author
Theoretical Review


A recent focus of research and clinical practice has been on the issue of abuse of parents by their children (parent abuse). This paper reviews the literature on this phenomenon. While parent abuse falls under the umbrella of family violence, it appears to be qualitatively different from other forms of intra-family abuse. Research has primarily focused on prevalence rates and the characteristics of perpetrators and victims. While various factors such as gender, age, emotional attachment to parents, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family stress and parenting style and structure have been associated with parent abuse, findings are equivocal. Etiological models are general and untested, and treatment approaches lack empirical support. It is concluded that more rigorous and extensive research is required in order to provide a deeper understanding of this complex issue, and to inform treatment approaches.


Parent abuse Prevalence Aetiology Treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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