Child Abuse and Neglect

  • David A. Wolfe
  • Jeff St. Pierre


The parameters of child maltreatment are defined by the patterns of child rearing that are acceptable to a society at any particular time. Child-rearing practices, in turn, are influenced by numerous cultural and situational factors that affect the level of conflict or cooperation in the emerging parent—child relationship. This chapter adopts a socialization perspective of maltreatment, in which abuse and neglect are viewed not as isolated social phenomena nor as a psychological impairment of the parent, but as the product of socialization practices that sanction the use of harmful and ineffective methods of dealing with other family members. In order to understand how families may become socialized into abusive and neglectful patterns of child rearing, it is necessary to consider the interplay of cultural, community, and familial influences on child rearing. Although we recognize that there is no single standard of acceptable parenting practices to serve as a benchmark, an understanding of the factors associated with parenting problems in general provides an important beginning to our theoretical understanding of child maltreatment and its influence on child development.


Child Abuse Child Development Psychological Maltreatment Child Neglect Developmental Psychopathology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Wolfe
    • 1
  • Jeff St. Pierre
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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