Canadian Research in Brief: 22nd Edition (September 2010)


The articles listed below can be accessed through the corresponding journal website or accessed at a local library or university.

Canadian Research in Brief: 22nd Edition (September 2010)

Brown, J.D., Sintzel, J., St. Arnault, D., & George, N. (2009). Confidence to foster across cultures: Caregiver perspectives. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 18(6), 633-642.

This study examined foster parent perceptions, specifically exploring what would increase foster parent confidence when caring for children from culturally diverse backgrounds. This study was set in Manitoba, where licensure and monitoring of foster care is provided through three Aboriginal and one non-Aboriginal authority. There are disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal children in care in Manitoba, and there are not enough foster home placements available in Aboriginal families. The authors used the method of concept mapping, which is a qualitative data analysis method that uses quantitative procedures. Interviews were conducted with 61 foster parents. Foster parents emphasized the importance of understanding the beliefs of other cultures, but most felt that they required help in accessing appropriate cultural information and resources for foster children. Foster parents identified child welfare agencies as a potential source of help, indicating that agencies should facilitate the learning related to foster children’s culture. Participants also indicated that the agencies should incorporate cultural sensitivity into their policies and practices. Having connections with other foster parents and key stakeholders was also viewed as important in enhancing cultural self awareness and cross cultural foster placements. Overall, foster parents wanted more support from workers and agencies, better communication among stakeholders, and more information on available community supports.

Clément, M.E., & Chamberland, C. (2009). The role of parental stress, mother’s childhood abuse and perceived consequences of violence in predicting attitudes and attribution in favor of corporal punishment. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 18(2), 163-171.

The authors present the idea that family physical and psychological violence exist on a continuum of severity. Corporal punishment, defined as a legally and socially acceptable way of physically controlling child behaviour without causing injury, is viewed as falling on the less severe end of the continuum. Using data from a large population survey conducted in Quebec in 2004, the authors examined the responses of mothers with children age 0 to 17. After randomly selecting participants from the target population, 3,148 mothers completed a telephone interview. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to examine the mothers’ responses. Mothers were measured on their sensitivity to the potential consequences of minor violence against their children. The less sensitive mothers were, the more likely they were to approve of corporal punishment. When looking at mothers who experienced violence during their own childhood and also reported feeling stressed due to their child’s temperament, these mothers were significantly more likely to approve of corporal punishment and use the child’s behaviour as justification for this approval. Child age and gender did not appear to influence the attitudes and attributions of mothers with regard to corporal punishment. Most mothers believed in the importance of limit-setting for children, and also believed that parents have the right to “slap” their children. Generally, mothers’ attitudes and attributions regarding corporal punishment appeared to lie on a continuum.

Jespersen, A.F., Lalumiere, M.L., & Seto, M.C. (2009). Sexual abuse history among adult sex offenders and non-sex offenders: A meta-analysis. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(3), 179-192.

This study examined the “sexual abuse-sexual abuser hypothesis”, which posits that sexual abuse in childhood is a unique causal factor for sexual offending in adulthood. The authors searched various electronic databases, reviewed each abstract, and selected relevant studies. Only publicly available articles, theses, and dissertations published in English between 1975 and 2005 were included in the meta-analysis. Variables in the 24 studies reviewed were coded independently by two coders, and meta-analytic calculations were weighted by sample size so studies with larger samples made a larger contribution to the average odds ratio. The results of the meta-analysis showed that sex offenders differed significantly from non-sex-offenders on sexual abuse history, but not on history of physical abuse or emotional abuse/neglect. Sex offenders with adult victims were significantly less likely to report a history of sexual abuse than those sex offenders with child victims, but significantly more likely to report a history of physical abuse. The authors tested to see if studies differed depending on the source of information for abuse history to test for a self-report bias. The authors also used a funnel graph to test for a publication bias. The results suggest that no self-report or publication bias was present. Overall, the results of this meta-analysis support the “sexually abused-sexual abuser hypothesis”. The authors discuss possible explanations for the association between childhood sexual abuse and sexual offending, including learning mechanisms, impact on sexual development, or a third variable that explains both sexual abuse and sexual offending.

Kerr, T., Stoltz, J., Marshall, B., Lai, C., Strathdee, S.A., & Wood, E. (2009). Childhood trauma and injection drug use among high-risk youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(3), 300-302.

This study examined the relationship between childhood maltreatment and injection drug use initiation among high risk youth. The authors used data from the At Risk Youth Study, a prospective cohort study of street-involved youth in Vancouver. All participants were street youth between the ages of 14 and 26 that had recently used illicit drugs other than marijuana. The 560 participants completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. A multivariate logistic regression model revealed factors that were independently associated with initiating injection drug use. Physical abuse was independently associated with having initiated injection drug use after adjusting for a variety of socio-demographic and psycho-social variables, and other forms of maltreatment. The authors posit that physical abuse may impact the coping skills of youth, such that these youth are unable to deal with the high-risk situations that often confront street-involved individuals. This lack of coping skills may result in a greater vulnerability to injection drug use. Having a parent who used illicit drugs was associated with a lower likelihood of having initiated injection drug use. The authors suggest that these youth witnessed the negative outcomes associated with injection drug use through their parents, and thus were less likely to have used injection drugs themselves.

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Abu Sayem
McGill University, CRCF
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