Background: The developmental relationships between child maltreatment, youth violence, and intimate partner violence (IPV) are well documented. However, very few studies document the relationship between child abuse/maltreatment and youth violence as separate entities. In the present study, the relationship between child maltreatment and youth violence is examined in the presence of other modifying socio-economic factors.
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Method: Using a quasi-experimental design, the present study will examine the conduct/behavior of 14,000 participants drawn from different parts of the United States. Further, the researchers will collect data from three different waves of measurements using three various forms of questionnaires. Subsequently, the data will be analyzed using the STATA SE (Version 9) software application to evaluate the impact of different kinds of child violence on the development and perpetration of youth violence in later stages of lifespan development.
Results: Relative to non-victims, the results of the present study are expected to show a direct link between child maltreatment and youth violence in the presence of other modifying socio-economic factors. Furthermore, it is expected that the percentage probability that abused victims will perpetrate youth violence in the future is expected to be higher than that recorded in previous studies. Conversely, gender differences are also expected in the way males and females respond to different forms of child maltreatment in perpetrating youth violence in later stages of lifespan development.
Conclusion: From the study findings, it will be apparent that there is a direct link between child maltreatment and youth violence in the presence of other modifying socio-economic factors.
Introduction & Literature Review
It is certain that many socio-economic risk factors are implicated in the development and progression of youth violence. However, there are relatively few research studies documenting the impact of child maltreatment and abuse on the future perpetuation of youth violence.
As a result, the present study takes a closer look into the relationship between child maltreatment and youth violence as separate entities through evaluating the cycle of violence among a specific group of participants right from preschool stage to adolescence.
In this way, the study aims at providing insights into youth violence across the lifespan development process in order to inform future programs aimed at designing prevention intervention strategies for violent youth.
Accordingly, most preliminary studies have documented the relationship between child maltreatment and youth violence in the presence of other factors such as domestic violence and intimate partner violence (IPV), and thus, locking out further investigations into the individual contribution of child maltreatment in the development of youth violence.
Here, Fang and Corso (2007, p. 281) examined the development of interrelationships among different forms of child abuse, intimate partner violence (IPV), and youth violence relative to a host other factors such as contextual, family background, and socio-economic factors. The study utilizes data on self-reported incidences among participants drawn from a representative sample at a national level to analyze various developmental relationships between different variables.
The study results suggest that relative to non-victims, victims experiencing child abuse/maltreatment demonstrate a higher probability toward engaging in youth violence as they grow. Further, the study notes that the likelihood that abused female children will become violent youth ranges from 1.2% to about 6.6%, and for abused male children, the probability ranges from 3.7% to about 11.9% with variations occurring relative to different forms of child abuse/maltreatment (Fang & Corso, 2007, pp. 281-290; ScienceDaily, 2007, p. 1 of 1). However, the study is limited in that it fails to account for the gender differences observed in youth violence among the participants.
Further research documents that in the presence of domestic violence and child maltreatment, which are suspected to occur in the same social set up at the same time, there is an increased probability that children raised in violent environments will become violent youth in future (Carter, 2004, para. 1).
Furthermore, Carter (2004, para. 1-10) notes that the socio-economic risk factors observed in youth violence closely resemble those observed in domestic violence and child maltreatment. This then leaves one wondering whether the relationship between child maltreatment and youth violence is unidirectional or multidimensional.
Moreover, very few research studies document the link between child abuse and youth violence in the presence of various socio-economic risk factors and protective factors, which according to Cox, Kotch, and Everson (2003, p. 6) play a significant role in modifying the developmental relationships between child abuse/maltreatment and youth violence.
Here, Cox et al. (2003, pp. 5-16) posit that various socio-economic factors such as young maternal age, low income, lack of religious intervention, low education, divorce, and separation from caregivers are implicated in child maltreatment and subsequently in youth violence among the victims rather than the non-victims.
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Conversely, additional studies note that in predicting youth violence, various factors such as the bonds between the family and children, involvement in school activities, bonds with antisocial/violent peers, and one’s perspective of the use violence provide clear insights into the link between child abuse and youth violence.
Here, the study employs 457 children who are examined right from preschool stage through adolescence, and the results suggest that child abuse/maltreatment is highly mediated by different socio-economic factors, which will also influence the impact of child abuse in youth violence in later stages of lifespan development (Herrenkohl et al., 2003, pp. 1189-1208).
This study employs the correct approach in examining the link between child abuse and youth violence. However, it is limited in terms of sample size since the number of participants does not reflect the status at the national level. As a result, the present study will utilize the same approach through conducting a longitudinal study involving a national representative sample of children in order to investigate the link between child maltreatment and youth violence right from preschool stage through adolescence.
This study it is hypothesized that there is a direct link between child maltreatment and youth violence in the presence of various socio-economic risk factors. Further, gender differences are expected in terms of how males and females are impacted by child maltreatment as they develop into violent youth.
The study entails 14,000 participants (7,000 males and 7,000 females) drawn randomly from different states/schools in the United States. The eligibility of the participants depends on whether an informed consent of the parents/guardians/caregivers/teachers will be obtained since the study involves investigating/examining the conduct/behavior of the participants right from preschool level through adolescence.
Design & Materials
The research design used in the current study is the quasi-experimental design considering that the study entails about three waves of measurements. In wave I measurements, respondents will be interviewed on the basis of a 45-item questionnaire designed to gather information regarding the individuals, their families, schools, and their communities, which will also form the basis of sampling.
Subsequently, wave II measurements will entail gathering self-reported information regarding youth violence victimization relative to a 30-item questionnaire applicable to young adults. Further, in wave III measurements, researchers will embark on gathering self-reports on youth violence perpetration relative to a 30-item questionnaire applicable to young adults (Note: The questionnaires described herein are available elsewhere).
As a noted earlier, using the questionnaires described in the foregoing discussions, researchers will conduct wave I measurements after obtaining informed consents from the participants and their caregivers who will also take part in answering questions regarding the socio-economic environments available to the participants. For instance, the researchers may wish to inquire from the respondents whether they have been slapped, kicked or left home alone when the presence of an adult is highly valued in order to rule out cases of child abuse/maltreatment.
After a significant amount of time (7-8 years) has passed, the researchers will embark on interviewing the same number of respondents (14,000) from wave I in order to inquire whether they are victims or perpetrators of youth violence relative to wave II and III questionnaires.
Here, it is worth noting that the researchers may wish to inquire whether the respondents have ever been involved in shooting or wounding other persons, and maybe whether they have ever pointed a gun or knife to another person.
Subsequently, the statistical analyses will entail applying bivariate regression methods to investigate the link between child maltreatment and various forms of youth violence (victimization and perpetration). Additionally, the maximum likelihood methods will inform the estimation of different recursive simultaneous equations.
Furthermore, the sample means will be used in determining the direct or indirect impact of a particular variable on others. Conversely, estimates of standard errors will be determined through bootstrapping techniques, especially in case one intends to determine the indirect impact of a given variable. Additionally, it is paramount to note that all the statistical analyses will be conducted using the STATA SE (Version 9) software application.
After successful statistical analyses as described under the methodology section, it is expected that the results will coincide with other documented evidence, which shows a direct link between child maltreatment and youth violence in the presence of other socio-economic factors.
Here, relative to non-victims, the likelihood that abused children will become violent in later stages of development is expected to be higher for both males and females compared to the one documented in previous studies considering that the current research entails a larger representative sample.
Furthermore, it is expected that gender differences in perpetration and victimization of youth violence will be more apparent, with the males expected to demonstrate more effects relative to there female counterparts. Here, the study results are expected to show that males are more likely to perpetrate violence in case at any one point in their lifespan development process, they encountered child abuse/maltreatment in the presence of other modifying socio-economic factors such as domestic violence and low income.
Using the experimental design described in the foregoing discussions, and comparing the data collected with other research studies, the present study results are expected to show a clear link between child maltreatment and youth violence in the presence of other modifying socio-economic factors.
However, it should be noted that this is a general view regarding victims of child maltreatment as opposed to their non-victim counterparts. Further, considering that the study entails a representative sample drawing participants from different parts of the United States, the present study is more likely to reinforce the results documented by various researchers who are of the idea that the interventions aimed at preventing child maltreatment will go a long way in preventing youth violence perpetration and the subsequent IPV cases reported among different young families.
On the other hand, it is essential to note that despite the study showing a direct link between child maltreatment and youth violence, there is the risk that the present study is limited in terms of addressing the direct and indirect impact of different forms of child maltreatment on the subsequent perpetration of youth violence.
Here, child neglect during the early childhood stage and the subsequent physical maltreatment of victims are part of several factors implicated in youth violence perpetration in later stages of lifespan development, the gender factor not-withstanding.
Therefore, the present study may fail to answer the question whether the link between childhood neglect and physical maltreatment is stronger among the males or females. As a result, future research studies should be designed in such a way that the link between the two factors is clearly examined to bring out the underlying gender factor.
On the other hand, it is apparent from the discussions above that sexual abuse has not been treated as a separate entity in child maltreatment. According to Fang and Corso (2007, p. 279), the link between child sexual abuse and the subsequent perpetration of youth violence appears to differ with the one observed in child neglect and physical maltreatment.
As a result, it is expected that gender differences will arise relative to the way males and females are bound to perpetrate future youth violence in case they are sexually abused in childhood. However, the present study fails to consider this paramount factor, which leaves room for future studies aimed at examining the impact of sexual abuse on the development of youth violence as a separate entity.
Overall, by looking at the individual contribution of child maltreatment in youth violence, the present study offers an in-depth insight into the significance of developing interventional strategies aimed at combating child maltreatment and youth violence in cases whereby the two appear as separate entities. In this way, the study aims at saving the community-based health professionals the additional resources channeled toward combating socio-economic factors that do not have any significant impact in some cases of child maltreatment and the subsequent youth violence.
Carter, J. (2004). Domestic violence, child abuse, and youth violence: Strategies for prevention and early intervention. San Francisco, CA: Family Violence Prevention Fund.
Cox, C. E., Kotch, J. B., & Everson, M. D. (2003). A longitudinal study of modifying influences in the relationship between domestic violence and child maltreatment. Journal of Family Violence, 18 (1), 5-16.
Fang, X., & Corso, P. S. (2007). Child maltreatment, youth violence, and intimate partner violence: Developmental relationships. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33 (4), 281-290.
Herrenkohl, T. I., Huang, B., Tajima, E. A., & Whitney, S. D. (2003). Examining the link between child abuse and youth violence: An analysis of mediating mechanisms. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18 (10), 1189-1208.
Science Daily. (2007). Victims of child maltreatment more likely to perpetrate youth violence, intimate partner violence. Science News. Web.