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Journal Article


Simmons M, McEwan TE, Purcell R. J. Interpers. Violence 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.


(Copyright © 2020, SAGE Publishing)






Within the past decade, there has been an increase in research focusing on young people who abuse their parents. However, most research has narrowly focused on adolescent children, neglecting to investigate the nature, pattern, and factors related to child-to-parent abuse perpetrated by young adults. This article integrated two complementary social-cognitive theories of aggression to explore factors associated with perpetration of child-to-parent abuse among university students (N = 435, aged 18-25 years). Participants completed the Abusive Behavior by Children-Indices, a self-report measure that was designed to differentiate abusive and normative child-to-parent behavior. The results highlight that abuse is not limited to adolescent children, as one in seven young adults were categorized as abusive toward a parent over the previous 12 months. Sons were more likely than daughters to report abusing their parents. Specifically, sons disclosed greater rates of father abuse than daughters, but similar rates of mother abuse. Hierarchical logistic regression found that exposure to marital violence, parent-to-child aggression, trait anger, and aggressive scripts were significant predictors of both mother and father abuse. However, other factors related to abuse differed according to which parent was the target of abuse. For instance, male sex was a significant predictor of father abuse, whereas rumination and impulsive emotional regulation were significant predictors of mother abuse. Overall, father abuse was better explained by the model than mother abuse. The results suggest that although factors related to general aggressive behavior may be good predictors for father abuse, additional factors may be needed to explain mother abuse.

Language: en


aggression; child-to-parent abuse; child-to-parent violence; family violence; social cognition; youth violence


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