Since this concept was presented there has been a considerable amount of research done on the subject. Steele (1983) declared that with few exceptions, parents or other caretakers who maltreat babies, were themselves neglected (with or without physical abuse) in their own earliest years(p. 235). In contrast, Cicchetti and Aber (1980) have asserted that empirical support for intergenerational transmission is lacking. Kaufman and Zigler (1987) reviewed evidence suggesting that abused children become abusive parents and concluded that the case for transmission across generations has been overstated.
Looking back on past investigations gives support for intergenerational transmission, almost without exception. These investigations identify maltreating parents and then interview them about their own childhood. Investigations done with and without control groups indicate abusing parents report high rates of having been abused physically during childhood (Steele and Pollock 1974; Horowitz and Wollock 1981; Oliver 1978; Kotelchuk 1982; Friedrich and Wheeler 1982). Kaufman and Zigler have pointed out the problem with using results stemming from retrospective investigations to estimate the effect of an abused-abusing cycle. Because these investigations dont have access to parents who were mistreated as children, they tend to overestimate the incidence of the maltreated-maltreating cycle.
There are also reasons why retrospective reports may underestimate how many maltreating parents were themselves abused as children. One reason may be that these adults believe that frequent experience with corporal punishment in childhood, beatings, was normal. Kadushin and Martin (1981) found that nearly every report of child abuse was precipitated by a behavior in the child that the parent felt called for disciplinary action. Therefore, in part, this appears to be related to cultural acceptance of violence (Hilberman 1980), but it also implies an identification with the parents views on corporal punishment.
In one investigation (Kotelchuk 1982), parents were asked to describe their childhood experience. Investigators coding the descriptions were far more likely than parents to consider the experiences to have been abusive, on the other hand, parents responses to a direct question about having been abused were not related to punitive treatment of their children. Though there has been a tremendous amount of research done on this subject I believe that it is important to continue to research this with the hope of finding a reason for this abuse and putting an end to it. For this reason I propose to conduct a longitudinal experiment to determine whether children who are abused grow up to display the same abusive behavior with their children. Method The experimental group will consist of subjects who were previously abused now seeking counseling for emotional assistance. They will be randomly selected from a study of 347 families from lower income backgrounds.
The children involved in these families will range from the ages 3 to 17, being that if they were any younger the study would be more severe, and live at home The control group will consist of families of subjects who were not previously abused and are not currently seeking counseling for emotional assistance. They to will be randomly selected from a study of 347 families from lower income backgrounds. The children will range from ages 3 to 17.Design and Procedure Interviews will be conducted with the fathers in a random half of the families and with the mothers in the other half of .