The relation between abuse and violent delinquency: The conversion of shame to blame in juvenile offenders

Jason Gold, Margaret Wolan Sullivan, Michael Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

While the relationship between abusive parenting and violent delinquency has been well established, the cognitive and emotional processes by which this occurs remain relatively unidentified. The objective of this work is to apply a conceptual model linking abusive parenting to the conversion of shame into blaming others and therefore to violent delinquency. Methods: A retrospective study of 112 adolescents (90 male; 22 female; ages 12-19 years; M= 15.6; SD= 1.4) who were incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility pending criminal charges, completed measures of exposure to abusive and nonabusive discipline, expressed and converted shame, and violent delinquency. Results: Findings tend to confirm the conceptual model. Subjects who converted shame (i.e., low expressed shame, high blaming others) tended to have more exposure to abusive parenting and showed more violent delinquent behavior than their peers who showed expressed shame. Subjects who showed expressed shame (i.e., high expressed shame, low blaming others) showed less violent delinquency than those who showed converted shame. Conclusions: Abusive parenting impacts delinquency directly and indirectly through the effects of shame that is converted. Abusive parenting leads to the conversion of shame to blaming others, which in turn leads to violent delinquent behavior. Practice implications: For juvenile offenders, the conversion of shame into blaming others appears to contribute to pathological outcomes in relation to trauma. Translation of this work into clinical practice is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-467
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume35
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Attributions
  • Child abuse
  • Emotions
  • Juvenile delinquency

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The relation between abuse and violent delinquency: The conversion of shame to blame in juvenile offenders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this