The Emotionally Battered Child

  • James Garbarino
Part of the Child Maltreatment book series (MALT, volume 1)


One of the core insights of an ecological perspective is that child development does not take place universally. It takes place in the very specific contexts of a child’s life. We understand this in the political realm when we say “all politics are local,” or “think globally but act locally.” Human ecology builds upon the scientific fact that rarely does child development work exactly the same way for everyone in every situation. Rather, it occurs as a complex interaction of a child’s biology and psychology with the influences of family, neighborhood, school, community, culture, and society. All these elements combine to produce the context (“ecological niche”) within which development takes place. As a result, when we ask the developmental question, “does X cause Y?” the best scientific answer is “it depends.” It depends upon who and where the child is. Every feature of context matters. And yet, in understanding and promoting child well-being, we must attempt to set within this contextual approach the developmental and philosophical insights of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a way of asserting universal values.


Emotional Abuse Child Protection Ecological Perspective Psychological Maltreatment Child Protective Service 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Human Rights of ChildrenLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA

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