Forensic Psych

The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Female Offending

New paper for you guys if you’re interested. It’s a research proposal on the impact of childhood physical and emotional abuse on adult female violent offending. The content from the beginning up until the method is filled with background, which will likely be what most will  be interested in, but feel free to read all if you want 🙂 As always, this is my work, so please do not steal/plagiarize, etc. Thank you!!

Abstract

As children we are all disciplined, but some children receive more than just discipline; some are maltreated, abused, and/or neglected. In fact, there are many children who are abused each year. This is problematic on a number of levels. For instance, it has been found that childhood abuse is a factor in future violence and adult criminal offending; often finding a correlation between past abuse and being arrested later on in the individual’s own life (English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001). The current study proposes to specifically examine female childhood abuse and future violent offending. It is well established in the field that a correlation does exist between abuse and adult female offending. According to one study by Maxfield and Widom (1996), childhood abuse significantly increased adult women’s risk of arrest for violent offenses by 7%. English, Widom, and Brandford (2001) found that childhood physical and emotional abuse both lead to an increased risk in violent criminal behavior in adulthood. However, there have not been many studies regarding emotional abuse and violent criminality. Very few studies have been done to examine this relationship. Due to this lack of research on emotional abuse and a lack of comparisons between types of abuse, this study proposes to observe the impact of childhood physical abuse (CPA) and childhood emotional abuse (CEA) on females committing violent offenses as adults. The author hypothesizes that childhood physical abuse will have more of an impact in leading females to commit violent offenses as adults than childhood emotional abuse.

Keywords: abuse, emotional, physical, violent offending, criminal, female

 

 

The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Female Offending

            As children we are all disciplined, but some children receive more than just discipline; some are maltreated, abused, and/or neglected. In fact, there are many children who are abused each year according to the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2012). This is problematic on a number of levels. For example, it has been found that childhood abuse is a factor in future violence and adult criminal offending (English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001). Research by English, Widom, and Brandford (2001) has found a correlation between past abuse and being arrested later on in the individual’s own life. The current study proposes to specifically examine female childhood abuse and future violent offending because it is well established in the field that a correlation does exist between abuse and adult female offending. According to one study by Maxfield and Widom (1996), childhood abuse significantly increased adult women’s risk of arrest for violent offenses by 7%. It is also known that females are slightly less likely to be physically abused than males are, and yet physical abuse is more likely to be a predictor of committing violent offenses in women than it is in men (Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008). This is a significant finding that warrants an investigation. In addition, English, Widom, and Brandford (2001) also found that childhood physical and emotional abuse both lead to an increased risk in violent criminal behavior in adulthood. However, there have not been many studies regarding emotional abuse and violent criminality. Very few studies have been done to examine the future impact of emotional abuse.

Due to this lack of research on emotional abuse, the lack of comparisons between types of abuse, and the fact that abused women appear to violently offend more than abused males or non-abused females, this study proposes to observe the impact of childhood physical abuse (CPA) and childhood emotional abuse (CEA) on females committing violent offenses as adults. CPA will be defined as any “nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child” as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Children’s Bureau on page 2 (2008). CEA will be defined as “…a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Children’s Bureau on page 3 (2008). An adult female is a female 18 years or older according to the U.S. State Department’s Family Liaison Office. Lastly, violent offenses will be defined as any crime that involves force or threat, of which there are 4 types, namely, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, forcible rape, and robbery (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010). The author would like to know if CPA has more of an impact on female violent offending or if CEA has more of an impact on female violent offending. It is hypothesized that childhood physical abuse will have more of an impact in leading females to commit violent offenses as adults than childhood emotional abuse, and the null hypothesis will be that childhood physical abuse will not have more of an impact in leading females to commit violent offenses as adults than childhood emotional abuse.

Adult women who have been abused are more likely to violently offend than men who have been abused (Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008). This warrants an investigation into the reason behind this. Is emotional abuse more likely to lead an adult female into violently offending than physical abuse, or is physical abuse more likely to lead an adult female into violently offending? There is not much research available on emotional abuse, but it does appear that physical abuse will lead an abused female into more physical violence when compared with emotional abuse. The next section will further examine these facts about violence, abuse, and female offending and further develop the reasoning behind the proposed study.

Literature Review    

As children we are all disciplined, but some children receive more than just discipline; some are maltreated, abused, and/or neglected. In fact, there are many children who are abused each year. In 2009, an estimated 10.1 children per 1,000 in theUnited Stateswere victims of maltreatment according to the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2012). Each state had a varying amount of physical and emotional abuse, with a median of 17.6% of children experiencing physical abuse and a median of 1.3% of children experiencing emotional/psychological abuse. These are significant numbers because so many children experience abuse of some sort, and it is likely that even more exists than what has been reported. This is problematic on a number of levels. For instance, it has been found that childhood abuse is a factor in future violence and adult criminal offending; often finding a correlation between past abuse and being arrested later on in the individual’s own life (English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001). In fact, it has been reported that childhood abuse and neglect increases the risk of arrest as an adult for non-traffic offenses as well as the risk of arrest as an adult for violent crime, which was defined as an arrest for manslaughter, murder, burglary with some type of injury, battery, and/or rape, by 42% and 16%, respectively (Maxfield & Widom, 1996). Overall, physical abuse increases the risk of violent crimes being committed, and maltreatment alone is associated with the development of antisocial behavior (Smith,Ireland, & Thornberry, 2005).

This study desires to specifically examine female childhood abuse and future violent offending. Therefore, in order to gauge incidence of abuse and offending, various statistics must be reported first. It has been found that around 51% of childhood abuse victims are female, which seems like a fairly equal proportion of males and females being abused (Gaudiosi, 2010). In addition to this, one must also examine the number of incidences of violent offenses among adult females in order to gauge female violent offending. In 2010, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) on violent crime, women were arrested for 10.9% of all murder and non-negligent manslaughter offenses, 1.1% of forcible rape offenses, 12.2% of robbery offenses, and 22.6% of all aggravated assault cases. Males are abused about as frequently as females are, but offend more often than women (English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001). While these percentages of arrests for violent offenses committed by women may not seem very large or significant at first when compared to the number of arrests of men for these same offenses, these are still significant numbers that warrant some explanations. Is there a correlation between childhood abuse and adult females committing crimes when compared to non-abused women or abused men?

It is well established in the field that a correlation does indeed exist between abuse and adult offending, especially adult female offending. According to one study by Maxfield and Widom (1996), childhood abuse and neglect significantly increased adult women’s risk of arrest for violent offenses by 7%. However, childhood abuse did not significantly increase the risk of arrest for a violent offense in males. In a study of female offenders, it was reported that those who had been physically abused had been arrested earlier than those females who had not been physically abused, at an average of 17.9 and 22.6 years of age, respectively, and had also committed more types of crimes than those females who had not been physically abused (Lake, 1993). Additionally, according to Herrera & McCloskey (2001), who studied youth between the ages of 6 and 12 who had experienced abuse at home, abused girls were 7 times more at risk for future violent offending than non-abused girls. In a similar study by English, Widom, and Brandford (2001), abused and neglected females were found to be 7 times more likely to be arrested for a violent crime as an adult than those females who had not reported being abused or neglected as children. Another study also suggests that there is an increased risk for women to commit a violent crime as both a juvenile and an adult if they had been abused and/or neglected when compared to men who had been abused and/or neglected as a child (Widom & Maxfield, 2001). What is most intriguing and significant is that females are slightly less likely to be physically abused than males are, and yet physical abuse is more likely to be a predictor of committing violent offenses in women than it is in men (Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008). Is there a difference between types of abuse? Is one type of abuse more likely to lead to violent offending in women than another?

There has been research involving abuse in general and its relationship to future offending, as well as those comparing specific kinds of abuse and neglect and their relationships with crime and violence (e.g., English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001; Haapasalo & Moilanen, 2004;Lake, 1993; Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008; Widom & Maxfield, 2001). For example, the study by Mullen et al. (1996) discusses the difference between emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and their effects on future mental health. Mullen et al. found that those who had been physically abused in the past had greater mental health issues as well as lower self-esteem. Those who had been sexually abused generally had poorer mental health, lower self-esteem, and were found to have a lower socioeconomic status. Lastly, they found that emotional abuse victims were more likely to be involved in a psychiatric case, to be depressed, to be suicidal, and also have a low self esteem. Another study, for example, examined female offenders in order to compare those who were nonviolent and those who were violent in numerous ways (Pollock, Mullings, & Crouch, 2006). They wanted to know if the violent offenders or nonviolent offenders were:

  • more likely to be of a certain race,
  • more likely to be poorer,
  • more likely to be from a single parent household,
  • more likely to have a more extensive criminal history,
  • more likely to be associated with gangs,
  • more likely to be married,
  • or were more likely to be abused as a child and/or adult.

This study found that violent offenders were more likely to have grown up with a mother and/or father who experienced psychiatric problems and were more likely to have grown up with a mother who had been to prison. The study also found that the violent women offenders had experienced significantly more maltreatment as children than their nonviolent counterparts, with 36% of the violent women having been seriously hurt or beaten physically and 42% reporting that they had been sexually abused. While there is an abundance of information available on physical and sexual abuse, information on emotional abuse in general is quite sparse and has not been studied as often as the other types of abuse (English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001; Mullen, Martin, Anderson, Romans, and Herbison, 1996). More specifically, there is certainly not much information available about the impact of emotional abuse on subsequent violent criminal behavior, but what research does exist suggests is that emotional abuse also increases the risk for violent criminal behavior as an adult, especially in women (English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001).

There are several factors that help to explain this repetitive finding that women who have been abused are more likely to violently offend than their counterparts who have not been abused. It has been suggested that the increase in violence observed among abused females, but not in abused males or non-abused females, may be related to females’ own experience with abuse, meaning that they may become “perpetrators in response to their own victimization” (Peters & Peters, 1998, p. 29). Like any type of behavior, the reasoning behind violent behavior involves many factors, and there are many etiological explanations for it, such as social learning theory, the cycle of violence hypothesis, general strain theory, and social control theory (Maxfield & Widom, 1996; Pollock, Mullings, & Crouch, 2006; Widom & Maxfield, 2001). According to social learning theory, an individual vicariously learns a behavior by observation (Abbassi & Aslinia, 2010). The individual does not have to take part in the behavior to learn it, but instead all he or she must do is observe the behavior and he or she is likely to partake in the same behavior at some point in the future. This theory also applies to aggression and violence, which can be learned as well. Women who have been abused may violently offend in adulthood because they grew up with a negative, violent role model according to social learning theory (Pollock, Mullings, & Crouch, 2006). As they grow up being abused and watching violence, they learn that violent behavior is acceptable, as the abuser is a role model. A second explanation, the cycle of violence hypothesis, suggests that both childhood physical abuse and childhood neglect predispose an individual toward violent and criminal behavior in adulthood (Maxfield & Widom, 1996; Widom & Maxfield, 2001). However, Maxfield and Widom (1996) found that individuals who had been physically abused only were more likely to be arrested for a violent offense when compared with individuals who had been: (a) only neglected, (b) physically abused and neglected, (c) only sexually abused, and (d) sexually abused and otherwise abused. This cycle of violence hypothesis has been confirmed in more recent studies as well (Widom & Maxfield, 2001). For example, in the study by Widom and Maxfield (2001) those individuals who had been abused or neglected as children were more likely to be arrested as adults, more likely to be arrested for violent crimes, were arrested at an earlier age, committed twice as many offenses, and were arrested more often than those individuals who had not been abused or neglected as children. However, the cycle of violence hypothesis has been extended beyond the scope of physical abuse and neglect in a study by English, Widom, and Brandford (2001). This study suggests that physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse all increase the risk of arrest for violent offenses when compared to the control groups who had not been abused or neglected. Physical abuse and neglect were not the only types of maltreatment that correlated with a higher risk for violent arrests, which is a significant finding. Many different types of childhood maltreatment may predispose an individual to violently offend. Therefore, the cycle of violence hypothesis may suggest that abuse of all types may increase an individual’s risk for violently offending. It has certainly been shown that women who were abused or neglected in general were at an increased risk for violently offending.

Another theory, called general strain theory, proposes that child maltreatment may lead a child to experience negative emotions such as anger and/or resentment (Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008). These negative feelings caused from the strain of abuse may then lead the child to criminally offend because the act of committing deviant acts helps to ease the negative feelings that he or she is experiencing. This theory is well-supported in research according to Teague et al. (2008). The last theory, called social control theory, has mixed findings within research, but it is worth mentioning as a possible factor in explaining the relationship between violent behavior and childhood abuse (Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008). Social control theory suggests that each individual begins life with the natural desire or tendency to offend, but do not offend because they develop strong ties with prosocial institutions such as the school or family which help to control and quench these desires or tendencies. When a child is maltreated, he or she may not develop strong ties with his or her family and this may also lead to the inability to develop strong ties in school. These two institutions are known as social controls, and without proper social controls a child is more likely to commit a criminal offense.

While there are many explanations as to why there is a relationship between offending and past abuse, such as the ones mentioned above, one must recognize that there are many factors that could play a role in adult female violent offending; that could allow them to become perpetrators because of their own victimization (Peters & Peters, 1998). A history of childhood abuse alone will not likely provide a sufficient explanation as to why women perpetrate in response to their own past with abuse. One explanation alone will not provide “…a complete explanation of the maltreatment–delinquency association, [but] each identifies an important but distinct component of this link” (Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008, p. 321).

In summation, physical abuse is linked to aggression while emotional/psychological abuse is more often linked to a lower self-esteem (Briere & Runtz, 1990). English, Widom, and Brandford (2001) contradictorily found that childhood physical and emotional abuse both lead to an increased risk in violent criminal behavior. However, there have not been many studies regarding emotional abuse and violent criminality. Very few studies have been done to examine this relationship, unlike the numerous studies that have looked at the impact of physical abuse on future violent criminality, therefore more research is needed on the impact of emotional abuse (e.g., English, Widom, & Brandford, 2001; Haapasalo & Moilanen, 2004;Lake, 1993; Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008; Widom & Maxfield, 2001). Due to this lack of research on emotional abuse and a lack of comparisons between types of abuse, this study proposes to observe the impact of childhood physical abuse (CPA) and childhood emotional abuse (CEA) on females committing violent offenses as adults. CPA will, again, be defined as any “nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child” as described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Children’s Bureau on page 2 (2008). CEA will be defined as “…a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Children’s Bureau on page 3 (2008). An adult female is a female 18 years or older according to the U.S. State Department’s Family Liaison Office. Lastly, violent offenses will be defined as any crime that involves force or threat, of which there are 4 types, namely, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, forcible rape, and robbery (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010).

The author hypothesizes that childhood physical abuse (CPA) will have more of an impact in leading females to commit violent offenses as adults than childhood emotional abuse (CEA) because most research seems to suggest that while both CPA and CEA increase violent offending, physical abuse more often leads to aggression in the future while emotional abuse is more likely to lead to lower self-esteem (Mullen, Martin, Anderson, Romans, and Herbison, 1996). In addition, social learning theory would suggest that children learn aggression from their aggressors (Abbassi & Aslinia, 2010; Pollock, Mullings, & Crouch, 2006). This theory would ideally say that experiencing physical abuse would more likely lead to future physical violence while emotional abuse would be more likely to lead to emotionally abusing others in the future. With the knowledge that both CPA and CEA may lead to future violent offending in females, it is likely that one may ask which type of abuse is more likely to lead to future violent behavior, and that is precisely what this study aims to examine. If this study were to be done, it may help in understanding how to develop an intervention and/or prevention plan for girls and young women who have been abused either physically or emotionally. The overall aim would be the reduction of offending due to previous abuse and hopefully the ability to aid in preventing abuse and offending in the future. If it can be shown that the problem behind female violent offending is abuse, a prevention plan could be put into place in the future in order to prevent the violent offenses from occurring. This study proposes a way to examine these items and hopefully help in one day leading to an intervention and/or prevention plan.

Method

Design

            This study will be quantitative in nature. The independent variable will be the type of childhood abuse, namely emotional or physical, while the dependent variable is the impact of the abuse, in the form of females committing violent offenses. This will be measured quantitatively through the number of violent offenses committed by the participants. In order to effectively study the impact of abuse on violent offending, the author finds it best to study this by gathering data on the amount of women with violent offenses who have been either physically or emotionally abused. Gathering statistics and numbers provides a tangible way in which to view the impact of physical and emotional abuse on violent offending.

Participants

This study seeks to examine adult women who have committed violent offenses because many studies in the past have been completed using female inmates to study the relationship between criminality and past abuse experiences, and one of the best ways to study those who are violent is to go to those who have been found guilty and convicted of violent crimes (e.g.,Lake, 1993; Pollock, Mullings, & Crouch, 2006). Therefore, adult women 18 years or older who are currently imprisoned or on parole in theWashington, D. C. Metro area (including southernMarylandand northernVirginia) with a violent offense or offenses on their criminal record will be representatively sampled. Their records will be obtained through the imprisonment facilities in the Washington, D. C. Metro area and those who have been convicted of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, forcible rape, and/or robbery will be selected and will be asked to participate in the study. This group will be asked to complete 2 questionnaires on CPA and CEA that will further determine which participants will be the focus of our study, specifically those who have been physically or emotionally abused as a child.

Materials

Two instruments will be used to study the impact of CPA and CEA on adult female violent offending. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), a retrospective, 70-item, self-report instrument, will be used to examine both CPA and CEA. The abridged, 28-item of the CTQ will not be used. The CTQ examines other types of abuse as well, specifically sexual abuse and two types of neglect, which will not be necessary for this study. Therefore, only the sections covering CPA and CEA will be used, which will include a total of 23 items. There will be a pilot study using only the questions that cover CPA and CEA in order to test the reliability of this adjusted version of the CTQ. The 70-item CTQ has a reported test-retest reliability for individual subscales ranging from 0.80 to 0.83 and the scale as a whole has a test-retest reliability of 0.88 (Bernstein, Fink, Handelsman, Foote, Lovejoy, Wenzel, Sapareto, & Ruggiero, 1994). The scale as a whole has a reported internal consistency reliability ranging from 0.79 to 0.94 and the subscales have an internal consistency ranging from 0.80 to 0.83. It has also found to have good convergent validity with therapist ratings of abuse as well as clinician ratings of abuse (Scher, Stein, Asmundson, McCreary, & Forde, 2001). The CTQ asks the participants to respond to questions such as, “When I was growing up…”

  • People in my family called me things like “stupid,” “lazy,” or “ugly.”
  • I felt loved.
  • I got hit so hard by someone in my family that I had to see a doctor or go to the hospital.
  • I was punished with a belt, a board, a cord, or some other hard object.
  • There was someone in my family who helped me feel that I was important or special.
  • I thought that my parents wished I had never been born.

The responses are be answered based on a 5 point frequency of incidence scale ranging from “never true” to “very often true.”

The second instrument, the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), a 50-item instrument, will be used in order to further examine CEA, as the CTQ does not include as many questions on CEA as it does for CPA. The PBI instrument has been found to have good reliability and validity as well (Parental Bonding Instrument). It has been tested over a 20 year period and has a satisfactory test-retest reliability, convergent validity, and good internal consistency. The PBI instrument is based on a 4 point frequency of incidence scale ranging from “very unlike” to “very like,” and participants are asked to respond to questions such as, “In the first 16 years of my life, my Mother/Father…”

  • Spoke to me in a warm and friendly voice.
  • Tried to control everything I did.
  • Made me feel I wasn’t wanted.
  • Frequently smiled at me.
  • Seemed emotionally cold to me.
  • Appeared to understand my problems and worries.

The PBI includes two sections, each consisting of 25 questions. Both sections contain the same questions. However, one section covers questions regarding the individual’s mother and the second section covers the individual’s father. These questionnaires will be made available through the internet via SurveyGizmo and for those who do not have internet access, a physical copy will be sent in the mail through the United States Postal Service to their place of residence.

These two questionnaires in particular will be used because the CTQ was used in previous studies that are similar to the current one with satisfactory results and because both of these instruments have been shown to have satisfactory reliability and validity (e.g., Bernstein, Fink, Handelsman, Foote, Lovejoy, Wenzel, Sapareto, & Ruggiero, 1994; Parental Bonding Instrument; Teague, Mazerolle, Legosz, & Sanderson, 2008). One study, for example, found that the Mother section of the PBI has an alpha coefficient ranging from 0.71 to 0.82 and the Father section has an alpha coefficient ranging from 0.79 to 0.81, showing satisfactory internal consistency reliability (Tsaousis, Mascha, & Giovazolias, 2012). Another study describes the test-retest reliability as ranging from 0.87 to 0.92 (Lizardi & Klein, 2005).

Procedure

            The questionnaires will be made available and will be sent out on a specific date. The participants will be given a packet that will contain an informed consent form that must be viewed and signed, which will explain to them that they will be surveyed on their childhood abuse experiences. They will then agree to the conditions of the study by signing the informed consent page. In addition, they will also receive the adjusted version of the CTQ and the entire PBI, as well as a debriefing form which will explain the general purpose of the study and who they may contact with any question, requests, or concerns. Upon signing the informed consent, they will then continue forward and begin by viewing the adjusted version of the CTQ. This will ask them 23 questions about their experiences with both childhood physical and emotional abuse based on a 5 point frequency of occurrence scale. The participants will then go on to the second questionnaire which has two sections, one for the mother and one for the father. Both of these sections, which contain 25 questions each, will be completed and they will then view the debriefing form. The questionnaires should take approximately 10-30 minutes. If the participants are completing the questionnaire packet on SurveyGizmo, this will end their participation. However, if a participant is completing a physical copy of the questionnaire that she received in the mail, she will be provided with a cover letter that explains that she is to sign and complete both the informed consent as well as the two enclosed questionnaires. She will also be provided with a hand-addressed, postage-paid envelope in which she is to return the informed consent as well as the questionnaires via the United States Postal Service. The questionnaires will be made available and will need to be completed and returned within 3 months of the start date.

Proposed Data Analysis

Descriptive (central tendency) statistics will be collected in this study. These statistics, as well as a one-sample t-test to examine the difference between the 2 abuse types, will be performed in SPSS to analyze all of the data collected in this study.

Ethical Considerations

In order to protect the participant as much as possible, this study will submit an informed consent form to be approved by the IRB board atMarymountUniversity. The informed consent details the ethical considerations of this study (see Appendix). The participant will read about the purpose of the study and how long it will take to fill out the questionnaires. It also informs the participant that she may experience some emotional or mental discomfort as a result of filling out this survey because the participants will be asked to recall physical or emotional abuse that they suffered as a child. They may feel sad, guilty, fearful, embarrassed, resentful, etc. upon recalling these experiences. There may also be a potential for some mental health damage in that it may bring up bad memories that lead them into a depressed or angry state upon recalling these incidences, for example. This may or may not last any significant amount of time depending upon the participant. However, the participants will also be informed of potential benefits of this study, which are: (a) it can help us to understand how childhood physical and emotional abuse impact females, (b) it can help us to understand why one type of childhood abuse leads to females committing violent crimes than the other types of childhood abuse, and (c) it could potentially lead to prevention and intervention plans that could help reduce and/or prevent future incidences of abused women committing violent offenses.

The participants will be informed that their names and other personal information collected about them will be kept strictly confidential. The names of the participants will not be required on the questionnaires, however, and their information will not be made public. As the data collected will be for a scientific purpose only, the personal information of the participants will not be included in any publishing of research. Any records or information collected due to their participation in this study may be reviewed or inspected by the Marymount University Institutional Review Board or by the persons conducting this study. The records of this study will be kept as confidential as possible and the participants’ information will be coded with numbers to further aid in confidentiality. If a participant decides that she does no longer wants to participate in the study, she may withdraw at any time without any consequence. This study will not penalize or reward a participant for participating or withdrawing from the study in any way. There will be no monetary incentive or change in a participant’s sentence or release date due to participation in this study. The participant will also be informed that she may terminate at any time by informing the researcher of her decision. She may be informed of any significant findings that result from this experiment if she contacts the principal investigator via the contact information provided. If she has a question as she is filling out the questionnaires, she may also contact the investigator via the phone number or email address provided on the informed consent (see Appendix).

There will also be a debriefing form at the end of the study. This will be put into place to thank the participant for her involvement in this study. It will also provide background information on childhood abuse and women who commit violent offenses, the logic behind the choice to study the impact of abuse on offending, and it will also reiterate what the general aim of the current study is. A few key references will be provided in case she is interested in further exploring the relationship between childhood abuse and violent female offending. This will not require a signature, but is solely for the participant to read if she is interested. She may direct any questions regarding any of this information to the principal investigator with the contact information provided on the debriefing form.

References

English, D. J., Widom, C. S., & Brandford, C. (2001). Childhood victimization and delinquency, adult criminality, and violent criminal behavior: A replication and extension, final report. (NIJ Document No. 192291). Retrieved from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service website: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/192291.pdf

Haapasalo, J., & Moilanen, J. (2004). Official and self-reported childhood abuse and adult crime of young offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 31, 127-149. doi: 10.1177/0093854803261328

Herrera, V. M., & McCloskey, L. A. (2001). Gender differences in the risk for delinquency among youth exposed to family violence. Child Abuse and Neglect, 25, 1037-1051.

Lake, E. S. (1993). An exploration of the violent victim experiences of female offenders. Violence and Victims, 8(1), 41-51.

Lizardi, H., & Klein, D. N. Long-term stability of parental representations in depressed outpatients utilizing the parental bonding instrument. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 193(3), 183-188. doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000154838.16100.36

Maxfield, M. G., & Widom, C. S. (1996). The cycle of violence revisited 6 years later. Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 150(4), 390-395. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170290056009

Mullen, P. E., Martin, J. L., Anderson, J. C., Romans, S. E., & Herbison, G. P. (1996). The long-term impact of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children: A community study. Child Abuse and Neglect, 20(1), 7-21.

Parental Bonding Instrument. (2012, March). Retrieved from http://dtrebouxclasses.pbworks.com/f/ParentalBondingInstrument.pdf

Peters, S. R., & Peters, S. D. (1998). Violent Adolescent Females. Corrections Today, 60(3), 28-29.

Scher, C. D., Stein, M. B., Asmundson, G. J. G., McCreary,  D. R., & Forde, D. R. (2001). The childhood trauma questionnaire in a community sample: Psychometric properties and normative data. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 14(4), 843-857.

Smith, C. A., Ireland, T. O., & Thornberry, T. P. (2005). Adolescent maltreatment and its impact on young adult antisocial behavior. Child Abuse and Neglect, 29, 1099-1119. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.02.011

Teague, R., Mazerolle, P., Legosz, M., & Sanderson, J. (2008). Linking childhood exposure to physical abuse and adult offending: Examining mediating factors and gendered relationships. Justice Quarterly, 25(2), 313-348. doi: 10.1080/07418820802024689

Tsaousis, I., Mascha, K., & Giovazolias, T. (2012). Can parental bonding be assessed in children? Factor structure and factorial invariance of the parental bonding instrument (PBI) between adults and children. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 43, 238-253. doi: 10.1007/s10578-011-0260-3

U. S.Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2008). What is child abuse and neglect? Retrieved from http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/whatiscan.cfm

U. S.Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2012). Child welfare outcomes 2006-2009: Report to congress. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cwo06-09/cwo06-09.pdf

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Appendix

RESEARCH SUBJECT INFORMED CONSENT FORM

Prospective Research Participant: Read this consent form carefully and ask as many questions as you like before you decide whether you want to participate in this research study. You are free to ask questions at any time before, during, or after your participation in this research.

 

Project Information

Project Title: The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Female Offending Project Number:
Site IRB Number: Sponsor:
Principal Investigator: Riplee Organization:
Location: Washington, D. C. Metro Area Phone:

1.      PURPOSE OF THIS RESEARCH STUDY

    • You are being asked to participate in study that will ask you about your childhood emotional/psychological and/or physical abuse. You will be asked questions in order to determine if physical abuse or emotional abuse was more likely to cause you to have committed a violent offense. The purpose of this study is to determine if physical or emotional abuse in your childhood is what possibly led to you committing a violent offense, like murder or rape or other violent crimes.

2.      PROCEDURES

    • You will be asked to participate in a survey.
    • The survey will consist of 73 questions that will ask you about your childhood abuse experiences.
    • You will fill out the survey and your name will not be required because it is anonymous.
    • The questionnaire should take you between 10-30 minutes to complete.

3.      POSSIBLE RISKS OR DISCOMFORT

o        The only potential risk that is possible is that you may experience some emotional discomfort while you are recalling your memories of childhood abuse.

o        You may also experience mental health damage at the recall of your abuse memories.

4.      OWNERSHIP AND DOCUMENTATION OF SPECIMENS

    • All questionnaires will be anonymous and they will be held only in the possession of the principle investigator and after one year, the documents will be disposed of by shredding. No names or other personal information will be collected.

5.      POSSIBLE BENEFITS

o        This study can help us to understand how childhood physical and emotional abuse impacts females.

o        It can help us to understand why one type of childhood physical abuse leads to females committing violent crimes than the other types of childhood abuse.

o        This could potentially lead to an intervention that could help prevent abused women from committing violent offenses.

6.      FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

    • There is no foreseen cost to the participant.
    • There will be no monetary incentive or change in a participant’s sentence or release date due to participation in this study.

7.      AVAILABLE MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR ADVERSE EXPERIENCES

    • This study will have minimal risk.
    • No expected medical treatment will be needed.

8.      CONFIDENTIALITY

o        Your identity will be kept strictly confidential. Your name will not be required on the questionnaires and your information will not be made public. As this is for a scientific purpose, your information will not be included in the publishing of research.

o        Any records collected due to your participation may be reviewed or inspected by Marymount University Institutional Review Board or by the persons performing this study.

o        These records will be kept as confidential as possible.

o        Your information will be coded to help with confidentiality as well.

9.      TERMINATION OF RESEARCH STUDY

You are free to choose whether or not to participate in this study. There will be no penalty, loss of benefits, or gain of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled if you choose not to participate. Your participation will in no way affect your criminal record or any current case that you may be involved in. Your participation will in no way change your sentencing or release date. You will be provided with any significant new findings developed during the course of this study that may relate to or influence your willingness to continue participation. In the event you decide to discontinue your participation in the study,

    • Please notify Riplee of your decision so that your participation can be orderly terminated.

In addition, your participation in the study may be terminated by the investigator without your consent under the following circumstances: If you do not fill out all of the information, your information will not be included. It may be necessary for the sponsor of the study to terminate the study without prior notice to, or consent of, the participants in the event that our study loses funding and we can no longer afford to continue the study.

10.  AVAILABLE SOURCES OF INFORMATION

    • Any further questions you have about this study will be answered by the Principal Investigator:

Name:
Phone Number:

    • Any questions you may have about your rights as a research subject will be answered by:

Name:
Phone Number:

    • In case of a research-related emergency, call:

Day Emergency Number:
Night Emergency Number:

11.  AUTHORIZATION

I have read and understand this consent form, and I volunteer to participate in this research study. I understand that I will receive a copy of this form. I voluntarily choose to participate, but I understand that my consent does not take away any legal rights in the case of negligence or other legal fault of anyone who is involved in this study. I further understand that nothing in this consent form is intended to replace any applicable Federal, state, or local laws.

Participant Name (Printed or Typed):
Date:

Participant Signature:
Date:

Principal Investigator Signature:
Date:

Signature of Person Obtaining Consent:
Date:

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