Advertisement

Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 431–454 | Cite as

The Social Ecology of Adolescent-Initiated Parent Abuse: A Review of the Literature

  • Jun Sung HongEmail author
  • Michael J. Kral
  • Dorothy L. Espelage
  • Paula Allen-Meares
Review Paper

Abstract

This article provides an ecological framework for understanding adolescent-initiated parent abuse. We review research on adolescent-initiated parent abuse, identifying sociodemographic characteristics of perpetrators and victims (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status [SES]). Bronfenbrenner’s [1] ecological systems theory is applied, which examines the risk and protective factors for adolescent-initiated parent abuse within micro- (maltreatment, domestic violence, parenting behavior and disciplinary strategies), meso- (peer influence), exo- (media influence), macro- (gender role socialization), and chronosystem (change in family structure) levels. Findings from our review suggest that older and White children are significantly more likely to abuse their parents. Females are selective in the target of their aggression, while males target family members in general. Mothers are significantly more likely to be abused than fathers. However, researchers also report variations in the association between SES and parent abuse. Domestic violence and child maltreatment are risk factors, while findings on parenting behavior and disciplinary strategies are mixed. Peer influence, exposure to media violence, gender role socialization, and change in family structure can potentially increase the risk of parent abuse. Practice and research implications are also discussed. An ecological systems framework allows for an examination of how various contexts interact and influence parent abuse behavior, and can provide needed directions for further research.

Keywords

Adolescents Aggression Ecological model Parent abuse Violence 

References

  1. 1.
    Bronfenbrenner U (1994) Ecological models of human development. In: Husen T, Postlethwaite TN (eds) The international encyclopedia of education, 2nd edn. Elsevier Sciences, New York, pp 1643–1647Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Crichton-Hill Y, Evans N, Meadows L (2006) Research focus: adolescent violence towards parents. Te Awatea Rev 4:21–22Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Snyder HN, McCurley C (2009) Domestic assaults by juvenile offenders. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ojjdp
  4. 4.
    Cottrell B (2001) Parent abuse: the abuse of parents by their teenage children. Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bronfenbrenner U, Morris PA (1998) The ecology of developmental processes. In: Damon W, Lerner RM (eds) Handbook of child psychology, volume 1: theoretical models of human development, 5th edn. Wiley, Hoboken, pp 993–1028Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    World Health Organization (1977) Health needs of adolescents. Report of a WHO expert committee, technical report series 609. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    World Health Organization (1977) Health needs of adolescents. Report of a WHO expert committee, technical report series 609. GenevaGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kennair N, Mellor D (2007) Parent abuse: a review. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 38:203–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Paulson MJ, Coombs RH, Landsverk J (1990) Youth who physically assault their parents. J Fam Viol 5:121–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    McCloskey LA, Lichter E (2003) The contribution of marital violence to adolescent aggression across different relationships. J Interpers Viol 18:390–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kethineni S (2004) Youth-on-parent violence in a central Illinois county. Youth Viol Juv Just 2:374–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ulman A, Straus MA (2003) Violence by children against mothers in relation to violence between parents and corporal punishment by parents. J Comp Fam Stud 34:41–60Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cornell CP, Gelles RJ (1982) Adolescent to parent violence. Urb Soc Change Rev 15:8–14Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Walsh JA, Krienert JL (2009) A decade of child-initiated family violence: comparative analysis of child-parent violence and parricide examining offender, victim, and event characteristics in a national sample of reported incidents, 1995–2005. J Interp Viol 24:1450–1477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gebo E (2007) A family affair: the juvenile court and family violence cases. J Fam Viol 22:501–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Nock MK, Kazdin AE (2002) Parent-directed physical aggression by clinic-referred youths. J Clin Child Psych 31:193–205Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ibabe I, Jaureguizar J (2010) Child-to-parent violence: profile of abusive adolescents and their families. J Crim Just 38:616–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kennedy TD, Edmonds WA, Dann KTJ, Burnett KF (2010) The clinical and adaptive features of young offenders with histories of child-parent violence. J Fam Viol 25:509–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Charles AV (1986) Physically abused parents. J Fam Viol 1:343–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Agnew R, Huguley S (1989) Adolescent violence toward parents. J Marriage Fam 51:699–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Edenborough M, Jackson D, Mannix J, Wilkes LM (2008) Living in the red zone: the experience of child-to-mother violence. Child Fam Soc Work 13:464–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Evans ED, Warren-Sohlberg L (1988) A pattern analysis of behavior toward parents. J Adol Res 3:210–216Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ibabe I, Jaureguizar J, Diaz O (2009) Adolescent violence against parents. Is it a consequence of gender inequality? Euro J Psych Appl Leg Context 1:3–24Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Peek C, Fisher J, Kidwell J (1985) Teenage violence toward parents: a neglected dimension of family violence. J Marriage Fam 47:1051–1060CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gallagher E (2008) Children’s violence to parents: a critical literature review. Unpublished master’s thesis, Monash UniversityGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cottrell B, Monk P (2004) Adolescent to parent abuse: a qualitative overview of common themes. J Fam Issues 25:1072–1095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bronfenbrenner U (1977) Toward an experimental ecology of human development. Am Psychol 32:513–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Bronfenbrenner U (1988) Interacting systems in human development: research paradigms, present and future. In: Bulger N, Caspi A, Downey G, Moorehouse M (eds) Persons in context: developmental processes. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Maughan A, Cicchetti D (2002) Impact of child maltreatment and interadult violence on children’s emotion regulation abilities and socioemotional adjustment. Child Dev 73:1525–1542PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gershoff ET (2002) Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: a meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychol Bull 128:539–579PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Snyder J, Cramer A, Afrank J, Patterson GR (2005) The contributions of ineffective discipline and parental hostile attributions of child misbehavior to the development of conduct problems at home and school. Dev Psychol 41:30–41PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Boxer P, Gullan RL, Mahoney A (2009) Adolescents’ physical aggression towards parents in a clinic-referred sample. J Clin Child Adol Psychol 38:106–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Brezina T (1999) Teenage violence toward parents as an adaptation to family strain: evidence from a national survey of male adolescents. Youth Soc 30:416–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Browne KD, Hamilton CE (1998) Physical violence between young adults and their parents: associations with a history of child maltreatment. J Family Viol 13:59–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Mahoney A, Donnelly WO (2000) Adolescent-to-parent physical aggression in clinic-referred families: prevalence and co-occurrence with parent-to-adolescent physical aggression. Paper presented in victimization of children and youth: an international research conference. Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NCGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Straus MA (2001) Physical aggression in the family: prevalence rates, links to non-family violence, and implications for primary prevention of societal violence. In: Martinez M (ed) Prevention and control of aggression and the impact on its victims. Kluwer Academic, Plenum Publishers, New York, pp 181–200Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Eckstein NJ (2002) Adolescent-to-parent abuse: a communicative analysis of conflict processes present in the verbal, physical or emotional abuse of parents. Lincoln, NE: Unpublished dissertation. University of Nebraska, LincolnGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gallagher E (2004) Parents victimized by their children. ANZJ Fam Therapy 25:1–12Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kitzmann KM, Gaylord NK, Holt AR, Kenny ED (2003) Child witness to domestic violence: a meta-analytic review. J Consult Clin Psychol 71:339–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Bandura A (1978) Social learning theory of aggression. J Commun 28:12–29PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Hotaling GT, Straus MA, Lincoln AJ (1989) Intrafamily violence and crime and violence outside the family. Crim Jus 11:315–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Jackson D (2003) Broadening constructions of family violence: mothers’ perspectives of aggression from their children. Child Fam Soc Work 8:321–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Kratcoski PC (1985) Youth violence directed toward significant other. J Adol 8:145–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Langhinrichsen-Rohling J, Neidig P (1995) Violent backgrounds of economically disadvantaged youth: risk factors for perpetrating violence? J Fam Viol 10:27–36Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Meredith WH, Abbott DA, Adams SL (1986) Family violence: its relation to marital and parental satisfaction and family strengths. J Fam Viol 1:299–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Straus MA, Hotaling GT (1980) The social causes of husband-wife violence. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Osofsky JD (2003) Prevalence of children’s exposure to domestic violence and child maltreatment: implications for prevention and intervention. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 6:161–170PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Kolko DJ, Kazdin AE, Day BT (1996) Children’s perspectives in the assessment of family violence: psychometric characteristics and comparison to parent reports. Child Maltr 1:156–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Ogbu JU (1981) Origins of human competence: a cultural-ecological perspective. Child Dev 52:413–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Chao RK (2001) Extending research on the consequences of parenting style for Chinese Americans and European Americans. Child Dev 72:1832–1843PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Ferrari AM (2002) The impact of culture upon child rearing practices and definitions of maltreatment. Child Abuse Negl 26:793–813PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Julian TW, McKenry PC, McKelvey MW (1994) Cultural variations in parenting: perceptions of caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American parents. Fam Rel 43:30–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Keller H, Yovsi R, Borke J, Kartner J, Jensen H, Papaligoura Z (2004) Developmental consequences of early parenting experiences: self-recognition and self-regulation in three cultural communities. Child Dev 75:1745–1760PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Keller H, Lamm B, Abels M, Yovsi R, Borke J, Jensen H et al (2006) Cultural models, socialization goals, and parenting ethnotheories. J Cross Cult Psychol 37:155–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Chang L, Schwartz D, Dodge KA, McBride-Chang C (2003) Harsh parenting in relation to child emotion regulation and aggression. J Fam Psychol 17:598–606PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Robinson PW, Davidson LJ, Drebot ME (2004) Parent abuse on the rise: a historical review. Am Assoc Behav Soc Sci Online J 7:58–67Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Micucci JA (1995) Adolescents who assault their parents: a family systems approach to treatment. Psychother 32:154–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Eamon MK, Mulder C (2005) Predicting antisocial behavior among Latino young adolescents: an ecological systems analysis. Am J Orthopsych 75:117–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Kratkoski PC, Kratcoski LD (1982) The relationship of victimization through child abuse to aggressive delinquent behavior. Victimol Int J 7:199–203Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Bronfenbrenner U (1979) Ecology of human development: experiments by nature and design. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Bushman BJ, Huesmann LR (2006) Short-term and long-term effects of violent media on aggression in children and adults. Arch Ped Adol Med 160:348–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Anderson CA (1997) Effects of violent movies and trait hostility on hostile feelings and aggressive thoughts. Aggr Beh 23:161–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Anderson CA, Bushman BJ (2001) Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychol Sci 12:353–359PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Spillane-Grieco E (2000) From parent verbal abuse to teenage physical aggression? Child Adol Soc Work J 17:411–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Corvo K, Johnson P (2007) Does patriarchy explain intimate partner violence? State-level correlates of violence toward women and female homicide. In: Kendall-Tackett K, Giacomoni S (eds) Intimate partner violence. Civic Research Institute, Kingston, pp 5-1–5-10Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Stewart M, Burns A, Leonard R (2007) Dark side of the mothering role: abuse of mothers by adolescent and adult children. Sex Roles 56:183–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Bowes J (ed) (2004) Children, families and communities: contexts and consequences, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Eamon MK (2001) The effects of poverty on children’s socioemotional development: an ecological systems analysis. Soc Work 46:256–266PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Pepler DJ, Craig WM (2005) Aggressive girls on troubled trajectories: a developmental perspective. In: Pepler DJ, Madsen KC, Webster C, Levene KS (eds) The development and treatment of girlhood aggression. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, pp 3–28Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Walsh MM, Pepler DJ, Levene KS (2002) A model intervention for girls with disruptive behaviour problems: the earlscourt girls connection. Can J Couns 36:297–311Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Webster-Stratton C, Reid MJ, Hammond M (2001) Preventing conduct problems, promoting social competence: a parent and teacher training partnership in head start. J Clin Child Adol Psychol 30:283–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Kim MJ, Doh HS, Hong JS, Choi MK (2011) Social skills training and parent education programs for aggressive preschoolers and their parents in South Korea. Child Youth Serv Rev 33:838–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Chaffin M, Silovsky JF, Fnderburk B, Valle LA, Brestan EV, Balachova T et al (2004) Parent-child interaction therapy with physically abusive parents: efficacy for reducing future abuse reports. J Consult Clin Psychol 72:500–510PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Nelms T (2000) The practice of mothering in caregiving an adult son with AIDS. Adv Nurs Sci 22:46–57Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Rubin KH, Bukowski W, Parker JG (1998) Peer interactions, relationships, and groups. In: Damon W (Series ed), Eisenberg N (vol ed) Handbook of child psychology: vol 3. Social, emotional, and personality development, 5th edn. Wiley, New York, pp 779–862Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Rodkin PC, Hodges EVE (2003) Bullies and victims in the peer ecology: four questions for school service providers and social development research. School Psych Rev 32:384–400Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Gifford-Smith M, Dodge KA, Dishion TJ, McCord J (2005) Peer influence in children and adolescents: crossing the bridge from developmental to intervention science. J Abnorm Child Psychol 33:255–265PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Chandler MJ, Lalonde CE, Sokol BW (2000) Continuities of selfhood in the face of radical developmental and cultural change. In: Nucci LP, Saxe GB, Turiel E (eds) Culture, thought, and development. Laurence Erlbaum, Mahwah, pp 54–70Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Sani F (ed) (2008) Self-continuity: individual and collective perspectives. Taylor & Francis, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Lyons-Ruth K (1996) Attachment relationships among children with aggressive behavior problems: the role of disorganized early attachment patterns. J Consult Clin Psychol 64:64–73PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Simons KJ, Paternite CE, Shore C (2001) Quality of parent/adolescent attachment and aggression in young adolescents. J Early Adol 21:182–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Bender K (2010) Why do some maltreated youth become juvenile offenders? A call for further investigation and adaptation of youth services. Child Youth Serv Rev 32:466–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Sung Hong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael J. Kral
    • 2
  • Dorothy L. Espelage
    • 3
  • Paula Allen-Meares
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  3. 3.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  4. 4.Office of the Chancellor, University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations