Volume 1

Recognizing Child Abuse: Perceptions of Abusive Behaviors as Effected by Parent and Child Sex

Kerry Ann Munroe & Julie Dennis

Students (n = 110) were randomly assigned to reading one of four scenarios, depicting either father/son, father/daughter, mother/son, or mother/daughter interactions. The interactions presented the dyads as rushed, the child as uncooperative, and the parent as angry and physically harsh. Participants then completed measures designed to assess blame attributions (child or situational), tolerance of parental harshness, and personal experiences. Results indicated that tolerance of parental harshness was lowest in mother/daughter dyads. Correlational analyses also showed that for the mother/daughter scenarios, the three blame measures were intercorrelated. For the other conditions, only specific aspects of blame were intercorrelated. Discipline experiences also differentially influenced perceptions of the dyadic interactions.

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