Physically Neglected Boys Are More Likely To Become Violent Adolescents, StudyBy Staff Reporter
Boys, who are physically neglected by their parents during childhood, face a heightened risk of turning into violent adolescents, according to a Penn State study.
The researchers said that examples of physical neglect include failing to take a sick or injured child to the doctor, improperly clothing or not feeding a child.
"One of the problems with studying neglect is that it is an act of omission, rather than one of commission. In other words, it is characterized as the absence of an act, rather than an actual act of mistreatment," said William McGuigan, associate professor of human development and family studies at Penn State Shenango, in a press release. "However, now we have better measures and larger databases to document neglect."
McGuigan said that physical neglect during childhood is one of the strongest predictors of violent behaviour among adolescents. It was a significant contributor than physical abuse, or even physical abuse and neglect combined.
"It sounds somewhat contrarian, but the physical abuse might at least show that parents are paying some type of attention to the child," McGuigan said.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data taken from a survey of 85 participants, who are residents of a Pennsylvania detention center for felonious males. In the survey, 25 of the participants or 29.4 percent reported experiencing at least one incidence of childhood neglect. Acts of violence included fighting with students or parents, hitting teachers and using a weapon to scare, rob or injure another person.
McGuigan said that understanding the impact of physical neglect among adolescent males can help educate caregivers and provide better care for at-risk youths.
"We have to look more into neglect and become more aware of how it may cause some of these violent behaviors," said McGuigan. "From that, we can build early preventative care programs than can help avoid these negative outcomes."