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Religious-Related Abuse in the Family

  • RESEARCH ON CHILD ABUSE, VICTIMIZATION AND FAMILIAL HOMICIDE
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Abstract

Religion provides directives for positive moral action and the promotion of human welfare; but religious beliefs can also foster and justify abusive behavior in the context of family life and child rearing. Parents, who are emotionally distraught and cannot control their responses to their child’s needs or misbehavior, might wield religious ideas to intimidate and control their children. In our paper we set forth two fundamental types of religion-related emotional abuse and discuss the complex role that religion can play in perpetuating abusive family relationships. We address the emotional aspects of religion-related abuse and also its transgenerational transfer. We present a case illustration focusing on how such abuse leads to dysfunctional patterns of behavior in family relationships and disruptions in emotion regulation processes. Applying a Relational Family Therapy model, we consider select therapeutic implications for addressing and overcoming religious abuse and restoring functional emotion regulation processes in families.

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Correspondence to Barbara Simonič.

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Simonič, B., Mandelj, T.R. & Novsak, R. Religious-Related Abuse in the Family. J Fam Viol 28, 339–349 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-013-9508-y

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