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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 236149 Find in a Library
Title: Implicit Attitudes Toward Children May Be Unrelated to Child Abuse Risk
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect  Volume:35  Issue:7  Dated:July 2011  Pages:514-523
Author(s): Heather J. Risser; John J. Skowronski; Julie L. Crouch
Date Published: July 2011
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examined whether adults have implicit attitudes toward children and whether those attitudes are especially negative among respondents at high risk of committing child physical abuse (CPA).
Abstract: The two experiments that composed this study found that adult respondents (students and parents alike), regardless of risk for committing CPA, showed evidence of automatic negative evaluative reactions to child photos compared to adult photos. The data also suggest that this effect is a consequence of adults’ implicit negative evaluation of their age out-group (children) relative to their age in-group (adults), and this in-group/out-group bias emerges regardless of the facial expression depicted in the photos. Although both high-CPA-risk parents and low-CPA-risk parents exhibited implicit negative evaluative biases toward children, it is possible that these parent groups may differ in how they manage these initial negative evaluative reactions. Low-risk parents tended to respond to perceived out-groups with empathy, support, and generosity; whereas, high risk parents had low levels of empathy for out-groups, tending to be harsh, judgmental, and punitive toward those perceived as different from themselves. The first study was conducted on a student sample (n=95), and the second study was conducted on a parent sample (n=95). The study used an implicit “evaluative priming procedure” in which participants were instructed to make decisions about the evaluative implications of target words. These words were preceded by photographs of child faces or adult faces displaying positive, neutral, or negative expressions. Reaction times for the evaluative decisions were used as an index of the extent to which photos invoked negative or positive evaluative reactions. 2 tables and 39 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Bias related violence; Child abuse causes; Parental attitudes
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