A Social-Learning Model of Child Abuse

  • Jeffrey A. Kelly
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


As we pointed out earlier, describing a behavioral phenomenon such as child abuse represents only the first level or our knowledge about it. The next step is to integrate what is known about abuse into a conceptual model that suggests specific forms of intervention for abusive families. However, before exploring such a model, several limiting factors should be noted. First, any sound conceptual framework must be built upon a foundation of accurate descriptive data. As we saw in the preceding chapter, the number of well-controlled studies of child-abusive families remains relatively small. Of necessity, any present conceptual model of child abuse must rely in part on clinically derived, rather than rigorously validated, sources of information about abusive families. As we continue to learn more about these families, efforts to explain, predict, and control child abuse can become correspondingly more refined and rigorous. This, in turn, leads to a second issue. Conceptual models, including those of child abuse, should be capable not only of accounting for our current knowledge of a problem, but also of generating testable new predictions. Ultimately, a model of the kind presented in this chapter is useful to the extent that it stimulates additional avenues for child abuse research and applied treatment.


Parenting Style Observational Learning Physical Punishment Abusive Parent Anger Arousal 
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 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey A. Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA

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