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Cycle of Violence and Child Abuse Intergenerational Transmission

The “cycle of violence hypothesis” is a theory that mainly seeks to clarify why and how the behavior of an individual who commits family and domestic violence may transform dramatically with time.Furthermore, this theory provides an understanding of the reasons why an individual who has been a victim of either domestic or family violence would go on facing the violent situation (Finkelman, 1995).The term “intergeneration transmission” refers to the occurrence of something between generations.

It further described as a process that allows for people to recognize the modalities of conflict that relate to the generations which preceded the birth of an individual (American Heritage Dictionary, 2006).

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It is the objective of this paper to explain in detail the “cycle of violence” hypothesis as it relates to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children. The “cycle of violence” hypothesis relates to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children as exhibited via the principles of social learning theory.

Here a parent that is usually physically punitive would most likely have a child that becomes aggressive because that is the kind of response pattern the child has been accustomed to (Kalverboer, Genta, & Hopkins, 1999). This theory puts it that violent actions are learnt through positive reinforcement patterns and is more often than not imitated. It is important to note that when a child grows up with such a parent, the child will exercise such kind of an approach in raising their own offspring, thus this cycle of violence is in a position to persist through to the future generations.

In addition to this, a parent plays that most crucial role in the life a child (Tomison, 1996). Genetic components of aggressive behavior (Kalverboer, Genta, & Hopkins, 1999) equally result in a cycle of violence in which children are maltreated and it is generational. Under this, it is assumed that the predisposition of a parent for violence is inherited by a child. This inherited predisposition perpetuates the cycle of maltreatment especially towards children thus increasing the probability of such children subsequently maltreating their own children.

Thus the cycle is fueled in the sense that through genes, generations of abusive parents persist. The interaction of environmental and genetic factors is a major factor to consider when relating the cycle of violence to intergenerational transmission of mistreating children. A mere genetic predisposition simply puts a person at the risk of expressing violent behavior but then it takes the interaction of environmental and genetic factors to actually produce the greatest risk of the display of violent behavior (Kalverboer, Genta, & Hopkins, 1999).

When a child has inherited the genes of abusive character from the parents, it is the surrounding environment that fuels the degree of this behavior because of the experiences and thus they are carried forward to their children. As a consequence, the cycle of violent behavior in terms of child maltreatment is perpetrated (Tomison, 1996). According to a research done on intergenerational transmission of abuse, an examination was done where by the history of a parent in terms of abuse in relation to their abusive behavior toward the children was hypothesized (Pearsa & Capaldi, 2001).

Furthermore, the effect of the extent of an abuse and the possibility of the concerned individual becoming abusive were equally considered. From this study it was reported that the parents who had an abusive childhood were more likely to take part in abusive behavior in the next generation. These findings illustrate that the “cycle of violence” has a great link to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children (Tomison, 1996).

Much as there is a lot of evidence to connect the cycle of violence to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children it is important to note that not all people who experience an abusive childhood become abusive parents in future. In addition, the cycle of violence can be broken via social support programs especially to the single parents (Langeland & Dijkstra, 2006). Another way through which this vice can be eradicated is via the support from the spouse who realizes the partner could have been a victim of abuse in their childhood.

It is also important to consider positive moves such as focusing on interventions that would prevent the cycle of violence from persisting through to other generations. References: American Heritage Dictionary. (2006). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition . New york: Houghton Mifflin . Finkelman, B. (1995). Child Abuse: Short- and long-term effects. London: Taylor & Francis. Kalverboer, A. F. , Genta, M. L. , & Hopkins, J. B. (1999). Current issues in developmental psychology: biopsychological perspectives.

New Mexico: Springer. Langeland, W. , & Dijkstra, S. (2006). Breaking the intergenerational transmission of child abuse: Beyond the mother-child relationship. Child Abuse Review , 4 (1). Pearsa, K. C. , & Capaldi, D. M. (2001). Intergenerational transmission of abuse: a two-generational prospective study of an at-risk samplesmall star, filled. Child Abuse & Neglect , 25 (11). Tomison, A. M. (1996). Intergenerational Transmission of Maltreatment. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from http://www. aifs. gov. au/nch/pubs/issues/issues6/issues6. html

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