Article Review One: Child Abuse, Neglect, and Adult Behavior
The research article on child abuse, neglect, and adult behavior was conducted at Bloomington in US in the year 2013 by Widom and Cathy Spatz of Indiana University. With the use of a prospective cohort design, that drew a large sample of cases of child abuse comprising of physical and sexual abuse and compared with a matching control group in the study. The result indicated that on overall, child maltreatment subjects projected higher cases than the adult cases of criminality and arrests (Widom, 1989).
The methodology employed in this research entailed past research designed to include achievements in the areas of design, conceptualization, and operationalization. It involved a prospective design, operationalization of abuse and neglect, formulation of groups of abused and neglected, use of a control group matching for sex, age, social class background and race. This design also captured the analysis of the consequences of abuse in the long-run (Widom, 1989).
It involved the collection, arrangement, tabulation, coding, and analysis of the available official data. The design was aimed at incorporating improvements on the past research and to provide a platform for future work through the inclusion of the current finds that are relevant to the study. The results obtained from such design are deemed relevant for use in various scenarios including those of policy formulation due its inclusiveness (Widom, 1989).
In this case of design “specialized cohorts” that are matching are assumed to be free from the ailment in the study and only differ in the examined attribute. The design helps produce research work that can be used for further work in the prevention of the vice under study to provide interventions reducing long-term consequences. For the realization of a strong correlation between the childhood victimization and violent behavior, the design was used to capture the “best test” case (Widom, 1989).
The purpose of the study was to find out the relationship between child abuse and neglect and delinquent, adult criminal and violent behavior in those with a history of child maltreatment. It involved the consideration of the hypothesis that “violence begets violence” in that abused children become child abusers, and victims of violence often become violent victimizer. Curtis (1963) suggests that there is a strong correlation between the abused and neglected children becoming tomorrow’s serious criminals if they survive the abuse.
In the United States, estimates of the number of cases of child abuse and neglect the range between 60,000 to 500,000 per year (Heifer & Kempe, 1994). Less is still known about the long-term effects of abuse and neglect on the life of the victims. By and large, there has occurred an increasing concern on how to scientifically put to test and analyze the notion of inter-generational transmission, the assumption that violence begets violence and neglect breeds neglect.
The results from the study indicate that 28.6% of adults with child abuse history had adult criminal records compared to 21.1% of the control group. It has shown that male victims had a higher rate of criminal records that female. On violent criminal behavior, results indicate that victims of abuse and neglect had a higher rate of 8.5% compared to that of 6.1% of the control group, hence the justification that violence breeds violence. On the issue of the number of arrests made against adult victims on child abuse cases, there was a slight variation of 1.1% and 1.0% between the adult victims and the control group (Apgar, 1999).
The study suggests that there is a need for refinement of our thoughts about the relationship between child victimization and future adult criminal life. Even though studies indicate that there occurs a positive correlation between the child victimization and adulthood criminal tendencies, it might not be as overwhelming as it is suggested in the hypothesis of the violence –of-violence. However, it agrees that a child abuse significantly propels ones risk to becoming an adult criminal (Apgar 1999).
As such, it is evident that experiences of early child maltreatment are positively correlated to adult criminal behavior (Apgar 1999). Overall, around 29% of adult victims of child maltreatment ended up with a criminal record in their adult life compared to 21% of adult non-victims of child abuse and neglect. Therefore, adult criminality may act as a direct byproduct of early life experiences and may be deemed as a function of child abuse and neglect.
Article Review Two: Patterns of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Justice System Involvement among Youth Aging Out Of Child Welfare.
Research on the patterns of mental health, substance abuse, and justice system involvement among the youths aging out of child welfare was conducted in USA in the year 2013. The study involved the use of an administrative data from a large birth cohort of 1985-1994. It involved the use of a 2-step cluster design where 5 subgroups of youth were identified. The first two groups had the highest numbers having involvement of other systems and child welfare care careers with relative stability. The other three groups composed of a much more extensive other systems involvement, care careers with instability with most of their time spent in congregate care (Shook et al, 2011).
The purpose of the research was to examine the variations on experiences of the youth aging out of child welfare support systems in USA. There is a need to focus and examine the patterns of their involvement with other systems that presents them with a constellation of challenges in their transition into adulthood. The study aims at analyzing the mental health, juvenile justice, substance abuse, and criminal justice involvement upon aging out of the child welfare (Shook et al, 2011).
Research findings from the study indicate that between 25,000 and 30,000 youth aging out annually from child welfare do not aim at a reunion with their families. Results from studies have indicated that such youths are more vulnerable to hardships than their peers in the entire population. Such hardships emanates from domains such as unemployment, homelessness, mental health, justice system involvement, and educational achievement (Shook et al, 2011).
It has been noted that since aging out from welfare systems coincides directly to human emotional and physical transition from adolescent to adulthood, the absence of stability in this period often presents a lasting effect on someone’s life orientation. As such, efforts are being put in place by both public and private institutions to formulate policies and programs to offer support for those transitioning from the child welfare systems (Apgar 1999).
The research results conclude that without a support, those aging out get involved in a number of other systems with 84% going for mental health services, 41% having drug and alcohol problems. Besides, it is also clear that many of these youths do need significant emotional support. As such, it recommends for availability of support in terms of skill acquisition to enable cope in the society (Shook et al, 2011).
It therefore, recommends that more resources should be provided for programs and services with aim of helping the transitioned youths in the society. In future, more attention should be placed on the needs and experiences of these youths to come up with methods of assisting them. A need for cross-system interaction and coordination before and after the aging out of care to help eliminate the penetration into the justice system (Apgar 1999).
In conclusion, the two research articles are an inspiration for further work on the subject matter since they provide an insight on the level of vulnerability of the young people in the society. Since our society’s future depends on the wellbeing of our today children and youths, it calls for a serious look at concrete methods of sustaining a healthy, strong, and capable generations of the future. Proper child upbringing and stable youth development is a function to innovative, independent, and a secure society.
Apgar, B. (1999) Childhood trauma and dissociation in adulthood – American Family Physician, Sept 1, 1999 retrieved October 19, 2004.
Shook, J., Goodkind, S., Pohlig, R. T., Schelbe, L., Herring, D., & Kim, K. H. (2011). Patterns of mental health, substance abuse, and justice system involvement among youth aging out of child welfare. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81(3), 420-432.
Widom, C. S. (1989). Child abuse, neglect, and adult behavior: Research design and findings on criminality, violence, and child abuse. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 59(3), 355-367.