Social Learning of Attitudes toward Deception in Adult Survivors of Child Victimization
KeywordsChild Sexual Abuse
Child Physical Abuse
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractChild maltreatment is extremely prevalent and leads to a host of negative effects, both immediately and long term. Instances of maltreatment are often accompanied by deception, both by the perpetrator, as well as by the victim in order to avoid stigma and protect family. Thus, this study investigated social learning of deception through instances of maltreatment. 413 young adults completed an online survey assessing current attitudes toward deception, childhood maltreatment including child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, witnessing interparental violence, psychological abuse, neglect and parental addiction, social support, and participant addiction. Results indicated that neglect and psychological abuse during childhood, and current addiction were associated with a positive attitude toward deception. Severity of CSA and severity of neglect each interacted with role (agent or target) in the deceptive scenario to determine attitude toward deception. Severity of CPA interacted with perceived social support to determine attitude toward deception. Furthermore, victim's awareness of deception by perpetrators of CSA was associated with a more negative attitude toward deception. These findings support both attachment theory and social learning explanations for adulthood attitude toward deception. Attachment theory explains why neglected and psychologically abused individuals find their own deception more acceptable and other's deception less acceptable than their non-neglected counterparts, and why the opposite pattern is true for victims of CSA; and social learning theory's emphasis on attention and reinforcement to motivate behavior are supported by these findings.
Degree ProgramGraduate College