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   is it in your genes?
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   Author  Topic: is it in your genes?  (Read 4446 times)
usdragonfly
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is it in your genes?  
« on: Jan 17th, 2004, 6:50am »
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Ok, in my psychology class we’re having a Huh dispute about child abuse. Maybe someone can help me on my argument.  
Some say that if you were abused as a child you are more than likely to be abusive to your children. I deem differently. Any suggestions?
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towr
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #1 on: Jan 17th, 2004, 9:58am »
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monkey see monkey do..
 
It often is the case that abusers were themselves abused. At the same time there is some genetic basdis for it, not just environmental.. But then, considering most people are abused by their parents (if at all) this is hardly remarkable..
It's hard to seperate these components since it's rather unethical to experiment with people in this way.
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #2 on: Jan 17th, 2004, 11:23am »
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It often is the case that abusers were themselves abused.

It is often the case that abusers were breast fed. Therefore......?
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towr
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #3 on: Jan 18th, 2004, 7:23am »
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on Jan 17th, 2004, 11:23am, THUDandBLUNDER wrote:

It is often the case that abusers were breast fed. Therefore......?
Therefore, if that isn't also the case for most non-abusers there might be a causal link.
 
here are two related articles..
Violence, harsh punishments in youth ups risk for adult partner violence
Study shows preschool can prevent abuse
 
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ThudnBlunder
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #4 on: Jan 18th, 2004, 12:26pm »
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Therefore, if that isn't also the case for most non-abusers there might be a causal link.

"Therefore.......might......" ?
Hmm...spoken like a true statistician.  Wink
 
That is not the whole picture. Any statistical grounds for suspecting a causal link will depend equally on the general prevalence of abuse in the population as a whole.  
 
« Last Edit: Jan 18th, 2004, 12:55pm by ThudnBlunder » IP Logged

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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #5 on: Jan 18th, 2004, 1:02pm »
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on Jan 17th, 2004, 9:58am, towr wrote:
At the same time there is some genetic basis for it, not just environmental..

 
I'm not convinced of this, at least not directly. I believe the statistics do support - even when properly interpreted - the idea that those who were abused are more likely to be abusers. But this is very much because "nurture" rather than nature. The abused child lacks the same amount of exposure to positive role models that other children have. As a result, they are less likely to have learned good coping mechanisms and more likely to have picked up, subconciously, the bad ones of their parents. Those for which this is true will become abusive when placed in stressful situations.
 
There may be genetic contributors, but these tend to be further removed - for instance a gene creating a greater susceptability to alcoholism would almost certainly also be associated with higher abusiveness.
 
The main point for me though is that all statistics can tell us about is overall trends - they should never be applied ad hoc to individual cases. Yes, Matt and Mary may have been abused as kids, but the statistics do not tell us they will abuse their own kids. Statistics are useful when no other information is available. When more specific information is available, the statistics stop helping and start hurting.
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #6 on: Jan 18th, 2004, 2:57pm »
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on Jan 18th, 2004, 1:02pm, Icarus wrote:
I'm not convinced of this, at least not directly. I believe the statistics do support - even when properly interpreted - the idea that those who were abused are more likely to be abusers. But this is very much because "nurture" rather than nature.
Both, pretty much allways, play a role.  
Software doesn't work without the hardware to support it, nor vise versa. Nature sets the boundaries, and nurture/enviroment determines how close we come to reaching our potentials.
 
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The abused child lacks the same amount of exposure to positive role models that other children have. As a result, they are less likely to have learned good coping mechanisms and more likely to have picked up, subconciously, the bad ones of their parents. Those for which this is true will become abusive when placed in stressful situations.
The problem here is that there are basic biological coping mechanisms which may not be working. Stress is something you have to deal with the moment you are born. Most babies start crying immediately at the shock, but after a while they adjust and settle, they cope with it. Some however take much longer to adjust to changes, and their response to stress lingers, they miss the off-switch.
As I see it, it's this basic coping mechanism that people build on as they grow older. Rather than building a coping mechanism from scratch they learn to use the one they have. If however it isn't working because you're missing the right genes, then you need a completely different way to cope with things. I'm not sure nurture can really help much here, as such. Certainly it can show you how to act, but not how to deal with things inside, unless you talk about it.
 
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There may be genetic contributors, but these tend to be further removed - for instance a gene creating a greater susceptability to alcoholism would almost certainly also be associated with higher abusiveness.
There are genetic factors which are linked directly to handling stress, and ones linked to agression.  
If I remember correctly there was an article comparing two groups of abused people. In one of which a certain gene functioned properly and in the other it didn't. And the ones with a faulty gene where twice as likely to have serious problems later in life as a result of their trauma..
 
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The main point for me though is that all statistics can tell us about is overall trends - they should never be applied ad hoc to individual cases. Yes, Matt and Mary may have been abused as kids, but the statistics do not tell us they will abuse their own kids.
Statistics only tell us if there is a greater risk, it never predicts the future. But if we were to want to prevent child abuse, this would be the group of people that could use the help best.
 
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Statistics are useful when no other information is available. When more specific information is available, the statistics stop helping and start hurting.
Too bad  people applying statistics in such situations didn't all learn to apply Bayes..
 
 
It's hard to find the articles I think I read.. But here are some slightly relevant ones..
Alcohol Researchers Identify a Genetic Basis of Pain Response
Alcohol researchers relate a genetic factor to anxiety in women
Researchers find genes for depression
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #7 on: Jan 19th, 2004, 6:32pm »
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You certainly are better informed on this issue than I am. I agree that statistics are useful for pointing out which groups should receive the most aid in avoiding becoming abusive.
 
My fear, which I am sure you understand, is that this same assistance also leads to the making of pariahs out of the entire group, even though many in the group would never have become abusers even without assistance. But this is a common problem that arises to some extent whenever statistics are applied to people, and not in and of itself a reason to avoid their use here. Just something to watch out for and try to prevent.
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #8 on: Jul 16th, 2014, 9:11pm »
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I just found this post very fascinating -- Great OP!
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JaneBD
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #9 on: Aug 5th, 2014, 2:42am »
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It completely depends on the person.
My friend was abused as a kid and now has his own children, he's never hurt them and treats them amazingly!
He's always said that he'd give his kids the treatment he never got.
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Re: is it in your genes?  
« Reply #10 on: Aug 18th, 2014, 5:34pm »
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I think it can affect you in certain way. My big brother used to be very strict on me and as a result I used to feel I will do the same to my little. We all are 7 years apart from each other but in the end it didnt turt out that way. I love my sis very much and cant possibly think of getting strict on her. So it may happen or it may not it depends.
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