Parents who were abused as children are not significantly more likely than others to physically abuse their own children, according to a study in the journal Science.
Researchers analyzed records and interviews with more than 1,100 parents and kids; more than half of the parents in the 30-year-study had been abused as children.
Previous studies have found that those who were abused as children are more likely to commit abuse as adults, but the author's of the study found that “much of the believed transmission of abuse and neglect between generations could be ascribed to surveillance or detection bias targeted at parents with childhood histories of abuse or neglect.”
In other words, parents who suffered abuse as children are more likely to be on the radar of child protective agencies.
About 30 percent of the abuse cases associated with parents who had been abused were reported to Child Protective Services, compared to just 15 percent from the comparison group, researchers found.
Child Protective Services abuse reports were filed for slightly less than 7 percent of children in the study born to parents who suffered abuse as kids, compared to 5 percent of the general population — a difference the researchers attribute to “surveillance bias.”
The researchers noted that there were wider gaps separating the groups for other forms of mistreatment, including sexual abuse and neglect, but were unable to offer an explanation for the differences.
The full study is available for purchase HERE.