What are the conceptual frameworks that enhance understanding of how child abuse occurs?
Briefly, the epidemiological framework describes both long-term and short-term consequences of child abuse on normal childhood development. Individuals that grow up in abusive environments suffer from social dysfunction that prevent them from interpreting their environment with healthy coping skills. Child abuse is perpetuated in families because abused children are at increased risk to grow up and become abusive adults. Circumstances that contribute to child abuse include dysfunctional child-rearing styles, lack of available social support systems, dysfunctional stress management styles, and nature of parent-child relationships.
The ecological framework describes how child abuse occurs when parent-child relationships are dysfunctional. The likelihood of child abuse increases during stressful family situations. Child abuse is more likely to occur when parents with histories of victimization from child abuse encounter stress and increased conflict.