Friday, March 13, 2015

Child abuse and bullying link in study long over due

A recent study reported in the Boston Globe indicates that child abuse is a contributing cause to bullying. The reporting of this finding is long overdue and there should be more of it but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The following are a few excerpts from the article:

‘The report found that students who said they had been involved in bullying, as both a perpetrator and a victim, were five times more likely to report they had been hurt physically by a family member, compared to those who said they were neither a victim nor a bully. And they were substantially more likely to have witnessed violence against other family members…..’

‘“These children are learning [violent behavior] in their families and behaving the same way in their social relationships with their peers,’’ said Elizabeth Englander, a psychology professor at Bridgewater State University and director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, which conducts research and runs antibullying programs in many public schools…..’

‘Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, said the findings from yesterday’s federal report do not surprise him….’

Complete Boston Globe article on the subject

There is still some research necessary to find out how different states compare with each other but the fact that domestic violence is a major contributing cause to bullying and additional violence later in life should be no surprise and the media should have done much more to report on it long ago. There are actually many more studies that support these conclusions that the recent article neglected to mention. These studies date back several decades aty least and the cumulative conclusion overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that child abuse leads to escalating violence including bullying.

This article cites just a hand full of studies which is typical of the way the media handles things and if they follow their past behavior they will probably provide little or no follow up. There is a chance that there might be an exception though; they have been reporting much more on bullying lately. However they have done little to draw this connection even though there was more evidence before this study came out. The Mass Media typically reports on this subject and many others very differently than it is handled in the academic world by good researchers into the subject. There are several different ways that the academics research this subject one is similar to the studies that have been reported in this article. This is what some sociologists like Murray Strauss do; only Murray Strauss and others are much more likely to cite many more studies that involve a large variety of different surveys or other ways of gathering statistical data and comparing them to each other. He has presented his work in the book, "Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Children," as well as many other research papers written by either him or others in the academic world.

Not everyone agrees that this is the most effective way to research the subject and in some ways they are certainly right; which is why other researchers including psychologist James Garbarino and Ellen deLara and others go about their research in a different manner. Instead of relying on surveys that gather a limited amount of information from a large number of people but don’t provide conclusive evidence of causation they conduct more in depth interviews with students and teachers. Some of these fluctuate; they may conduct interviews with some people that are relatively brief and they may go much more in depth with others and research more into the background deeply. If they came up with evidence that came to a different conclusion then the controversy and uncertainty over the subject might be understandable but instead they come up with a large amount of additional evidence that supports the conclusions that Murray Strauss and others come to.

These are just a small sample of the researchers that have compiled an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that much more attention should be drawn to this subject, and that if this is done then violence of all kind could be greatly reduced. Unfortunately there are also a lot of academic sources that come to different conclusions. I have no doubt though that if reasonable people took a close look at the work behind the conflicting conclusions that it will be clear that the group of researchers that strongly support the belief that child abuse leads to greater bullying and additional violence are right.

To read my past blogs on this subject that were written based on evidence that precedes this studies and excerpts from several books on the subject see the following:

Does child abuse and bullying lead to more violence?
Daddy’s Hands, Hard as steel when I’d done wrong.
Murray Straus: "Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Children" 2001
James Garbarino and Ellen deLara: "And Words Can Hurt Forever: how to protect adolescents from bullying, harassment, and emotional violence" 2002
Joanne Scaglione, Arrica Rose Scaglione: "Bully-Proofing Children: a practical, hands-on guide to stop bullying" 2006

Also on a different subject I thought it was worth mentioning the pregnant girls and teachers that were arrested for protesting the government cuts by an appointee of the Michigan governor who replaced the elected official without any approval of the public; this is an authoritarian move as indicated in the following cites.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

This is a must-read. r.

Jonathan Wolfman April 25, 2011 11:08 AM

School employees Hitting students under the guise of "Discipline" is unacceptable. Corporal/Physical Pain as Punishment or Paddling done by taxpayer funded school employees hitting children with wooden boards to deliberately inflict pain as punishment if done in view of the public would result in the paddle wielder being arrested and imprisoned for criminal felony assault, as would any other person, be they a Police Officer, Lawmaker or U.S. Supreme Court Justice!

Corporal Punishment is already Illegal in Schools in 31 U.S. States and Prohibited by Federal Law for use against Convicted Felons in U.S. Prisons. Paddling injuries to children put school districts at risk of lawsuits. Several "School Paddling States" have "Teacher Immunity Laws" to protect school employees from criminal/civil action. Some "School Paddling States" such as Tennessee, North and South Carolina do not require parental consent or notification for children to be hit by their teachers/coaches/administrators at school to deliberately inflict pain as punishment for minor infractions such as not turning in homework or horsing around.

Search 'A Violent Education' and 'School Is Not Suppossed To Hurt' to see what legally passes as 'Discipline' in 21st Century Classrooms in 19 U.S. States. Non-violent discipline resources are available at sparethekids dot com and dontbeatblackkids dot com.

Please add your voice at Unlimited Justice dot com Nationwide Campaign to End School Paddling of Children.

Julie Worley April 25, 2011 11:20 AM

Great article Zackery. I agree, that violence homes begets violent children for the most part. But, theres a lot more to it. Divorces and not having a father figure. Then mother marrying some guy and the kid has another Daddy he hates a month later. Sexually abused kids. The list is long I think. Then you read about the jocks who bully that come from great families with money. I don't think there is one root cause!

scanner April 25, 2011 11:43 AM

Julie I agree and so does Jonathan as you can see from his past blog on the subject. school paddling only escalates the violence along with bullying that starts with child abuse at home. The same reasons that lead people to beat kids at home lead some people to believe that kids should be beat at school as well. This is counterproductive and some of the same research that I cited previously also supports your conclusions as well, I assume as the sites you recommended which I took the liberty of posting below.

A Violent Education ACLU

School Is Not Supposed To Hurt

zacherydtaylor April 25, 2011 12:04 PM

Scanner, you're right that there are many other contributing factors and I'm sure they haven't sorted out all the details of them; however the fact that early violence begets more violence is conclusive. Just because they haven't sorted out exactly how much each contributing factor does what doesn't mean they don't have enough information to do much better than they have in the past.

Thanks all

zacherydtaylor April 25, 2011 12:06 PM

You're right about studies linking bullying to child abuse being several decades old. And George Seldes used to report on studies linking smoking to cancer in the 1930s. In Pacifism as Pathology, Churchill writes about crafty manipulation by the power elite (by starting to publish these studies in the nineties), when theoretically behavioral control should be a state, not an activist, function. It also succeeded in creating an enormous split between white middle class progressives and working class and minority activists.

Similarly progressives have been manipulated into siding against the working class as regards gun control. Let's hope the corporate media isn't trying to worsen the split by deciding to publicize these child abuse studies at this time.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall April 25, 2011 08:52 PM

Neil, I agree it’s kind of like watching someone get in an accident due to speeding and coming to the conclusion that they should have sped past the scene of the accident faster.

Stuart, it’s hard to imagine that this could be a bad thing to publicize. Even if it does raise some objections, which it might, then at least the publics will have the opportunity to hear them make the case and show how they come to their conclusions, hopefully. In my opinion the bigger potential problem is that they will misrepresent them for one reason or another or even worse drop it after a handful of reports that will be quickly forgotten by most people.

zacherydtaylor April 26, 2011 10:03 AM

This is a great piece... thanks. My step-daughter is finishing her masters at BU on early childhood development and education, I will most certainly forward this to her...SGH.

Stephen Guy Hardin April 26, 2011 10:25 AM

SGH, excuse the late reply, thanks for your input and referral. If your step-daughter has any input it will be welcome as well. Perhaps she can be part of the next generation that does a better job presenting this educational material to the public.

zacherydtaylor April 28, 2011 10:20 AM

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