Milner, Joel S.
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Department of Psychology
Aggressiveness in adolescence; Teenage boys--Psychology; Child abuse--Psychological aspects
The belief that a childhood history of physical abuse is associated with negative outcomes is several decades old, and over the years it has been hypothesized that abused and maltreated children grow up to become aggressive and perpetuate a cycle of violence on their own children. According to social information-processing models, children's social behavior is a function of sequential steps of processing that involve encoding of social cues, interpretation of social cues, clarification of goals, response access or construction, response decision, and behavioral enactment. Research has provided evidence that aggressive, physically abused children perceive, evaluate, interpret, and make decisions about social interactions in a manner that tends to increase the probability of future aggressive encounters and that affective experiences may influence processing styles. Research has also focused on factors such as social support that may protect individuals from the deleterious effects of childhood history of physical abuse. The present study, based on a social-information processing model of child physical abuse and aggression, examined the individual effects of a childhood history of physical abuse, perceived availability of social support, and satisfaction with social support on the existence of aggressive behavior, attributions, hostile intent, and evaluations of wrongness in male adolescents. One hundred forty-six of an original group of one hundred forty-eight male adolescents served as participants for the study. Due to significant findings in the zero-order correlation analyses matrix, multiple regression analyses were performed in order to examine the experience of a childhood history of physical abuse, level of perceived availability of social support, and level of satisfaction with social support on each of the dependent measures. A significant relationship was found between aggression and childhood history of physical abuse when abuse history, level of perceived availability of social support, and level of satisfaction with social support were simultaneously considered. Analyses also indicated a significant relationship between internal/external attributions and childhood history of physical abuse. Likewise, a significant relationship was found between internal/external attributions and satisfaction with social support. As for affective state, a significant relationship was found between level of satisfaction with social support and negative affect.
Tolliver, Randi M., "Impact of a childhood history of physical abuse and social support on aggresive behavior, attributions, and affect in male adolescents" (2004). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 3481.
viii, 128 pages
Northern Illinois University
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