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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00440

Abused Children Experience High Anger Exposure

 Rista C. Plate1*, Zachary Bloomberg1,  Daniel M. Bolt1, Anna M. Bechner1, Barbara J. Roeber1 and  Seth D. Polllak1
  • 1University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States

Childhood maltreatment is a critical problem in the United States. Much attention has been paid to the negative outcomes suffered by victims of abuse. Less attention has been devoted to understanding the emotional environments of maltreated children. One assumption, which has stood without empirical test, is that abused children encounter a high degree of anger in their home environments. Anger exposure is thought to be a source of stress for children in abusive environments and a potential link between the experience of abuse and the development of health and behavioral problems. We tested this notion by assessing data on over 1,000 parents and guardians of 3-17-year-old children who were participants in child development studies. Abuse was measured via records from Child Protective Services regarding substantiated and unsubstantiated claims of abuse as well as parent/guardian report. We compared self-reported experiences of anger from parents/guardians of children who have experienced abuse with those who have not. We found support for the claim that caregivers of abused children experience and express high levels of anger. Better characterization of the emotional environments in which abused children develop is critical for understanding how and why abuse affects children and has important implications for informing interventions.

Keywords: child maltreatment, Anger, physical abuse, Parents, Children

Received: 09 Nov 2018; Accepted: 13 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Susan M. Rivera, University of California, Davis, United States

Reviewed by:

Vanessa LoBue, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, United States
Vrinda Kalia, Miami University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Plate, Bloomberg, Bolt, Bechner, Roeber and Polllak. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Rista C. Plate, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, 53715-1149, Alabama, United States, rplate@wisc.edu