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Friday, November 4, 2011

Childhood Maltreatment and Difficulty with Peers. A.Smith

Childhood Maltreatment and Difficulty with Peers


In addition to the relationship between early childhood victimization and later violent behaviours, one may hypothesize that these two aspects may also increase the difficulity a person has with peers and adjustment which could further perpetuate stress and violent outbursts. For instance, Dahlberg and Simon (2006) found that youth who reported they had been frequently maltreated during childhood also had significant problems with their peers both during school and within the community. One reason for this peer rejection was because of the fact the rejected youth exhibited extremely antisocial and aggressive behavioural tendezcies. Dahlberg and Simon (2006) suggested that these maltreated youth were not only being rejected by their peers during adolescence, but the presense of a recurring event that has followed them throughout childhood. Being rejected by peers for many years not only increases aggression and the propensity towards violent outbursts, but it also creates difficulities with regards to adjustment.

Furthermore, problems with adjustment amongst youth who have experienced childhood abuse was also discussed years before in a study conducted by Galambos and Dixon (1984; as discussed by Straus, 1988). Galambos and Dixon (1984) found that adolescents who had experienced abuse since childhood exhibited serious adjustment problems when compared to control youth. Straus (1988) argued that youth who experienced abuse over a long period of time not only had difficulities with adjustment to new situations, but they also had ego deficits and demonstrated severe violent emotional and behavioural reactions. The impact early childhood victimization has on violent adjustment problems is important to consider when discussing the various adjustment problems youth have upon entering custody and the outcome of those adjustment problems on their violent behaviour towards other inmates. 

*References available upon request. 


  1. Great research, wish the justice systems around the world would consider the evidence when hearing cases and determining punishment. Thanks for publishing your work!

  2. Thank you for your comments. Hopefully if we keep bringing information into the public domain, we can encourage the public to pressure the government to make informed decisions rather than decisions based on reaction.