Sociological and Ecological Factors

  • Joan I. Vondra


Understanding how child maltreatment evolves—whether it is characterized by violent confrontations between parent and child, inattention to a child’s needs for adequate nutrition or supervision, chronic emotional belittlement and/or withdrawal of affection, or some combination of these—is inherently a task of integration. Knowledge from developmental psychology about what children need for healthy psychological development, knowledge from clinical psychology about the origins and manifestations of child and/or adult psychopathology, knowledge from family disciplines about the dynamics that underlie day-to-day family functioning and crisis situations, and knowledge from sociology about social and economic forces that foster or undermine the well-being of the family, each make a vital contribution to our understanding of both normal and dysfunctional parenting. Thus, the study of parental care and its effects on child development is, or should be, by its very nature interdisciplinary in its perspective. Without integrating these complementary sources of information, we are left with an incomplete portrait of parenting—its origins, its expression, and its impact on subsequent generations of children and parents. Indeed, nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of child maltreatment.


Child Maltreatment Child Development Parental Care Ecological Factor Maternal Depression 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan I. Vondra
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology in EducationUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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