Experiences of neglect typically create a threat to a child’s health and well-being. On the one hand, neglectful parents show a lack of interest in relation to material care (e.g. feeding, clothing, cleanliness, hunger), friendships, school work and career prospects of their children; on the other hand, they fail to meet the emotional needs of their children, being unsuccessful in providing a secure base for the development of competent social behaviours. For these reasons, neglect can play a critical role in the origins of psychological maladjustment and in the early onset of psychiatric disorders. In the present study, the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse interview (CECA; Bifulco, Brown, & Harris, 1994) was administered to 100 Italian non-clinical respondents, aged from 19 to 50, in order to assess how neglect combines with other childhood adversities in generating a fertile ground where psychological risk grows and produces poisoned fruits. Results of the study show that severe experiences of neglect were always associated with other types of maltreatment and failures of care. Adults who were neglected during their childhood were exposed to a number of other adversities, including prolonged separation from mother, financial problems, parental discord and violence, and less involvement with peers. Neglected individuals also experienced more hostility and coldness from their parents, were more likely to be physically abused, were more often left alone without supervision, and had responsibilities of running the household and caring for the emotional and material needs of parents and siblings. A discriminant analysis showed that severe experiences of neglect (those rated at ‘marked’ or ‘moderate’ levels in the CECA) were predicted by family discord, role reversal/parentification by mother, and a prolonged separation (more than 12 months) from her, leading to 95% of cases correctly classified. The present findings are consistent with the research literature, underlining that childhood neglect merges with other parental abuses and failures of care, leading to a condition of psychological risk in the child. Results also show the possibility for early detection –and, in the most fortunate cases, even a prevention– of such a risk. This is crucial for avoiding the negative effects of neglect on the development of personality and behaviour.

When hell is for children: The relationship between neglect and other childhood adversities in an Italian sample

SCHIMMENTI, ADRIANO;PACE, Ugo
2012

Abstract

Experiences of neglect typically create a threat to a child’s health and well-being. On the one hand, neglectful parents show a lack of interest in relation to material care (e.g. feeding, clothing, cleanliness, hunger), friendships, school work and career prospects of their children; on the other hand, they fail to meet the emotional needs of their children, being unsuccessful in providing a secure base for the development of competent social behaviours. For these reasons, neglect can play a critical role in the origins of psychological maladjustment and in the early onset of psychiatric disorders. In the present study, the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse interview (CECA; Bifulco, Brown, & Harris, 1994) was administered to 100 Italian non-clinical respondents, aged from 19 to 50, in order to assess how neglect combines with other childhood adversities in generating a fertile ground where psychological risk grows and produces poisoned fruits. Results of the study show that severe experiences of neglect were always associated with other types of maltreatment and failures of care. Adults who were neglected during their childhood were exposed to a number of other adversities, including prolonged separation from mother, financial problems, parental discord and violence, and less involvement with peers. Neglected individuals also experienced more hostility and coldness from their parents, were more likely to be physically abused, were more often left alone without supervision, and had responsibilities of running the household and caring for the emotional and material needs of parents and siblings. A discriminant analysis showed that severe experiences of neglect (those rated at ‘marked’ or ‘moderate’ levels in the CECA) were predicted by family discord, role reversal/parentification by mother, and a prolonged separation (more than 12 months) from her, leading to 95% of cases correctly classified. The present findings are consistent with the research literature, underlining that childhood neglect merges with other parental abuses and failures of care, leading to a condition of psychological risk in the child. Results also show the possibility for early detection –and, in the most fortunate cases, even a prevention– of such a risk. This is crucial for avoiding the negative effects of neglect on the development of personality and behaviour.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/11201
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