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Study on Childhood Verbal Abuse

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I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our many new subscribers!

As some of you may already know, I am out on an extended Medical Leave and so I am not able to be in touch with you all as often as I’d like. However, I felt it important to share a systematic review that was recently published on Childhood Verbal Abuse (CVA), which is often a feature of family scapegoating abuse (FSA).

This systematic review  focused on adult perpetration of CVA among children and adolescents using community-based, clinical, and population-based samples. Given how little research has been conducted on the psycho-emotional abuse of children, reviews such as this can help validate and support the experiences of adult survivors.

With that said, I’ve noticed within the Mental Health field that the scapegoating of a child or adult child is frequently referred to as a form of ‘verbal abuse’, which I find concerning and somewhat misleading, given that FSA is driven by psycho-emotional, systemic processes in dysfunctional or narcissistic family systems, hence it can be covert, insidious and subtle, whereas verbal abuse is more overt and obvious.

Results of the Survey: Across studies reviewed, the most common perpetrators of CVA were parents, mothers, and teachers. Definitional themes for CVA included negative speech volume, tone, and speech content, and their immediate impact. The most frequent measures cited were Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE) Questionnaire and the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS); 50 % used self-created measures. CVA was associated with a range of internalizing and externalizing outcomes across the lifespan.

Shanta R. Dube,Elizabeth T. Li,Guilherme Fiorini,Caleb Lin,Nikita Singh,Kumayl Khamisa,Jennifer McGowan,Peter Fonagy
Publication: Child Abuse & Neglect
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: October 2023

I’m including a link to the entire review, below:

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