The present study aimed to investigate the role of psychosocial determinants such as parenting styles, emotion regulation and locus of control on Attachment Styles in Abused Children. It is hypothesize that parenting style, emotional regulation and locus of control will predict the type of attachment styles in abused children and there will be significant gender difference. The sample will consist of 150 abused children. A Correlational, ex-post facto research design will be used. Sample will be selected by non-probability purposive sampling techniques. Data will be collected by using Parenting Style Four Factor Questionnaire, Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale, Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, Attachment Style Questionnaire. Quantitative data will be analyze by using descriptive statistics, T-test, correlation and regression analysis. Qualitative data will be analyze through thematic analysis.
A history of child abuse is a risk factor for a range of mental health, interpersonal and sexual problems. Psychological difficulties most frequently associated with child abuse include depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, dissociation, substance abuse, low self-esteem, poor adjustment, and personality disorders (Briere & Runtz, 1990). Various mediating and moderating factors that more fully explain the relationship between child maltreatment and adult psychopathology (Black, Slep, Heyman, 2001).
Abuse is a misuse of the rights of the parents to control, discipline and punish their children whereas neglect represents the failure to perform parental duties including those of supervision, nurturance and protection. Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development, or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power (World Health Organization (2006):
Child abuse divided into four major categories i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and emotional neglect. Physical abuse are beating, kicking, burning; Sexual abuse are fondling, intercourse, exposure to pornography; Psychological or emotional abuse are rejecting, demeaning, terrorizing; Neglect are failing to provide adequate food, shelter, medical care. Exposure to domestic violence, which is found to negatively affect children even when they themselves are not the direct victims of violence in the home; and exploitation (e.g., burdening a child with demands beyond his or her developmental capacities, such as in child labor (Barnett, Manly, & Cicchetti, 1993; GrahamBermann & Edleson, 2001; World Health Organization, 2006).
The term parenting explain how child behavior and development influenced by parents. Parenting style is the global emotional climate involving family functioning in which parents raise their children (Spera and Christopher, 2005). Parenting style is a psychological construct representing standard strategies that parents use in their child rearing. Parenting styles are the representation of how parents respond to and make demands on their children. What children learn, and how they react in certain situation is affected by their relationship with parents, parenting styles and behavior (Collins & Laursen, 1999)
Emotion Regulation is a multidimensional construct involving the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of emotions; ability to control impulsive behaviors and engage in goal-directed behaviors when experiencing negative emotions; and the flexible use of situationally-appropriate strategies to modulate the intensity and duration of emotional responses, rather than to eliminate emotions entirely (Gratz and Roemer, 2004). Difficulties in emotion regulation have been associated with diminished self control and increased negativity in preschoolers, while reactive aggression, difficulty with peers, and limited social competence have been found among children and adolescents with histories of abuse (Howes & Eldredge, 1985; Shields, Ryan, & Cicchetti, 2001; Shipman, Zeman, Penza, & Champion, 2000).
Locus of control is the belief of individual about how much his life control by internal forces such as personal effort, skill etc, or external forces such as other people, luck, chance (Phares, 1976). Locus of control term first proposed by Julian B. Rotter in 1966. People with a primarily internal locus of control feel more in control of their own life and success, demanding more of themselves and focusing on what they can do on their own to deal with current problems. Individual with primarily external locus of control feel that external factor have greater control over their lives, demand more from other, have greater emotional and functional dependence and more affected by criticism and praise (DiPentima L. et al, 2016)
Attachment is a special emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure. Attachment styles are characterized by different ways of interacting and behaving in relationships. Attachment styles are stable and are the internal working frameworks which guide people’s quality and quantity of relationships with others, and eventually their social functioning, social competencies, psychological adjustment and relevant attitudes (Hofstra, Van Oudenhoven, & Buunk, 2005; Van Oudenhoven & Hofstra, 2006).
The result of maltreatment is dramatic: the caregiver (mother or father) not only ceases to be the figure to whom the child can turn to for protection, but also becomes the source of danger itself that disorganized emotional and behavioral reactions, and similarly disorganized mental models are produced, which lead to the thought and behavior disorders (Main & Solomon 1990).
It is not by chance that 90 % of children victims of maltreatment develop disorganized bonds (Cicchetti et al. 2006), with respect to attachment, a percentage that remains high even at an older age From other studies a high percentage of avoidant patterns has been noted (Crittenden & Ainsworth 1989), while the percentage of disorganization patterns during adolescence remains higher than those related to avoidance (Neufeld Bailey et al. 2007; Webster et al. 2009). It had also been observed that incidents of parental hostility, rejection and neglect were more common than acceptance, love and trust in the history of adolescents with behavioral problems (Scott, Scott, & McCobe, 1991).
Rohner, Melendez, and Krimer-Rickaby (2008) modeled that parental acceptance, both maternal and paternal, in childhood is associated with parents’ adjustment as adults. Where use of force and violence are viewed as appropriate for the child rearing is just like stage set for child abuse. Warm family relationships, an atmosphere of understanding and compassion foster positive feelings in children that serves basis for the social relationships in their later life. Rohner (1975a; Rohner & Kahlequ, 2005) argues that acceptance being the presence of warmth and affection and rejection the absence of warmth in the life of a child may have a significant impact on his/her personality development. The accepting parents show their love or affection physically or verbally by fondling, hugging, kissing or caressing a child whereas the rejecting parents dislike and disapprove their children. The parenting behaviors like harsh punishment and emotional rejection had been found to be important risk factors for violent and aggressive behaviors in adolescents (Barnow, Lucht, & Freyberger, 2001).
According to studies in this area, it appears that physically or sexually abused children, as well as neglected children, present a high probability of developing mental models of insecure attachment (Beaudoina et al. 2013; Miner et al. 2014). In other words, where there is proper care from parents, designated as ready responses to the need to feel protected and comforted, children produce mental representations are worthy of being loved and therefore secure (Attili 2007). However, inadequate response or in terms of distancing and the encouragement of early autonomy, a type of insecure attachment is structured. This can lead to either a tendency not to be able to regulate the emotions (as is the case of ambivalent attachment), or an inability to be able to recognize anxieties and fears (as in the case of avoidant attachment).
The scenario of Pakistan about child abuse was quite alarming because more than 9 to 12 cases are face abuse and neglect per day in this country (Azam, 2019)). Abused and neglected children are at increased risk for a range of biological, social, psychological and behavioral problems. It is quite interesting that to see the types attachment styles in abused children. Attachment styles of abused children not only effected by maltreatment but also due to different psychosocial determinants. Therefore, there is a need to increase our understanding how psychosocial determinants especially parenting styles, emotion regulation and locus of control effect attachment style of abused children. Moreover, the association between attachment styles and these psychosocial determinants, since no study to date have investigated collectively. Although this study investigated the gender differences in attachment style and these psychosocial determinants because both boys and girls suffer with the long-term effects of child abuse regardless of physically, sexually, psychologically or socially.
- To identify the types of attachment style in abused children
- To find out the parenting style in abused children
- To examine the parenting styles, emotional regulation and locus of control of abused children
- To find out predictive relationship among parenting style, emotion regulation, locus of control and attachment style in abused children
- To explore gender differences in attachment styles, parenting style emotional regulation and locus of control in abused children
It is hypothesize that:
- The most common type of Attachment styles of abused children is anxious and avoidant
- Parenting style, emotional regulation and locus of control will predict the type of attachment styles in abused children
- Parenting style will be a predictor of emotional regulation in abused children
- Parenting style and emotional regulation will be predictor of locus of control in abused children
- There will be significant gender difference in parenting style, emotional regulation, locus of control and attachment styles in abused children
Significance of the study
- This research is significant both globally and with respect to Pakistani culture because child abuse is increase day by day.
- Present study will help in adding valuable literature in future studies that would help in representing that psychosocial determinants have significant impact on attachment style of abused children
- It will increase education and awareness of their risks for future victims
- The study will help to develop strategies to prevent child abuse.
Parenting Style is the type and amount of action taken that lead to development of a child through discipline, support and encouragement and being a role-model. Parenting Style Four Factor Questionnaire is a 32-item scale develop by Baumrind construct and validate by Shyny, T.Y (2017). It is a Likert scale ranging from 1(all of the time) to 2(never). Reliability of this scale is .91. Thus, the instrument yields four separate scores for each participant, namely Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, Uninvolved
Locus of control
Locus of control a generalized problem solving expectancy. Internal versus external control refers to the degree to which persons expect that an outcome of their behavior is dependent on their own behavior or personal characteristics versus the degree to which persons expect that the outcome is a function of chance, luck, or fate, is under the control of powerful others, or is simply unpredictable. Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale develop by Stephen Nowicki and Marshall Duke (1974). This self-administered scale consist of 40 items. The answer are dichotomous (yes/no), with a value of 0-1 higher score indicate external locus of control. Relibility of this scale is .69.
Emotion Regulation is a multidimensional construct involving the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of emotions; ability to control impulsive behaviors and engage in goal-directed behaviors when experiencing negative emotions; and the flexible use of situationally-appropriate strategies to modulate the intensity and duration of emotional responses, rather than to eliminate emotions entirely (Gratz and Roemer, 2004). The Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale is a 36-item self-report measure develop by Gratz and Roemer in 2004 range from 1 (almost never) to 5 (almost always). Reliability of this scale is (( = .93).
Attachment styles are stable and are the internal working frameworks which guide people’s quality and quantity of relationships with others, and eventually their social functioning, social competencies, psychological adjustment and relevant attitudes (Hofstra, Van Oudenhoven, & Buunk, 2005; Van Oudenhoven & Hofstra, 2006). Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ) is a 22-item scale developed by Van Oudenhoven, Hofstra, & Bakker (2003). It is a Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 2(strongly agree) measures four dimensions: secure, preoccupied, fearful and dismissing. Cronbach’s alpha were 0.75 for the Secure style, 0.80 for the Preoccupied style, 0.79 for the Fearful style, and 0.62 for the Dismissing style.
Demographic information sheet
Demographic information will be regarding name, age, gender, education, no. of sibling, father and mother occupation.
Approval for this study will be taken from the department of applied psychology Lahore College for Women University. A brief summary of research project will be explained to the participants along with the terms of confidentiality and use of data. Then each participants will be asked to sign the consent form, to complete demographic sheet and then questionnaire. At the end, the participants will be thanked by the researcher for the cooperation. Gather data will be analyzed statistically.
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