"Child Abuse Termed Cinderella Effect"
About Adoptee Rage
Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Child Abuse Termed Cinderella Effect, The Abuse Expectation In Adoptive Children
"Child Abuse Termed Cinderella Effect"
"Child Abuse Termed Cinderella Effect"
Studies have found that not biologically related parents are up to a hundred times more likely to kill a child than biological parents.
In the early 1970s, a theory arose on the connection between adoptive parents, stepparents and Child maltreatment abuse. In 1973, forensic psychiatrist P. D. Scott summarized information on a sample of "fatal battered-baby cases" perpetrated in anger (…) 15 of the 29 killers – 52% – were stepfathers. Although initially there was no analysis of this raw data, empirical evidence has since been collected on what is now called the Cinderella effect through official records, reports, and census.
For over 30 years, data has been collected regarding the validity of the Cinderella effect, with a wealth of evidence indicating a direct relationship between adoptive parents, step-relationships and abuse. This evidence of non-biological child abuse and homicide comes from a variety of reliable and official sources including official reports of child abuse, clinical data, victim reports, official homicide data and now the yearly "adoption, foster and step child maltreatment report" by each of the fifty states to congress.
Studies have concluded that "Adopted children and step children in Canada, Great Britain and the United States, indeed "incur a greatly elevated risk of child maltreatment of various sorts, especially lethal beatings". Studies have found that not biologically related parents are up to a hundred times more likely to kill a child than biological parents.
Powerful evidence in support of the Cinderella effect comes from the finding that when abusive parents have both adopted, step and genetic children, they generally spare their genetic children. In such families, adopted and step children were exclusively targeted 9 out of 10 times in one study and in 19 of 22 in another.
In addition to displaying higher rates of negative behaviors (e.g., abuse) toward stepchildren, stepparents display fewer positive behaviors toward non-biological children than do the genetic parents. For example, on average, stepparents invest less in education, play with adopted and step children less, take adopted and step children to the doctor less, etc. This discrimination against non-biological children is unusual compared to abuse statistics involving the overall population given "the following additional facts: (1) when child abuse is detected, it is often found that all the children in the home have been victimized; and (2) non-biological children are almost always the eldest children in the home, whereas the general (…) tendency in families of uniform parentage is for the youngest to be most frequent victims."
Evolutionary Psychologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson propose that the Cinderella effect is a direct consequence of the modern evolutionary theory of inclusive fitness, especially parental investment theory. They argue that human child rearing is so prolonged and costly that "a parental psychology shaped by natural selection is unlikely to be indiscriminate". According to them, "research concerning animal social behaviour provide a rationale for expecting parents to be discriminative in their care and affection, and more specifically, to discriminate in favour of their own young".
Unlike the lion, however, humans in an adoption, step parenting situation face a more complicated tradeoff since they cannot completely disown their partner’s offspring from a previous relationship, as they would risk losing sexual access to the mother/ father and any chance of producing potential offspring. Thus, according to Daly and Wilson, step and adoptive parental investment can be viewed as mating effort to ensure the possibility of future reproduction with the mother/father. This mating effort hypothesis suggests that humans will tend to invest more in their genetic offspring and invest just enough in their stepchildren. It is from this theoretical framework that Daly and Wilson argue that instances of child abuse towards non-biological offspring should be more frequent than towards biological offspring.
One would therefore expect greater parental responsiveness towards one's own offspring than towards unrelated children, and this will result in more positive outcomes and fewer negative outcomes towards one's own children than towards other children in which one is expected to invest (i.e...adoption, stepchildren). "If child abuse is a behavioral response influenced by natural selection, then it is more likely to occur when there are reduced inclusive fitness payoffs owing to uncertain or low relatedness". Owing to these adaptations from natural selection, child abuse is more likely to be committed by stepparents than genetic parents—both are expected to invest heavily in the children, but genetic parents will have greater child-specific parental love that promotes positive caretaking and inhibits maltreatment.
Daly and Wilson report that this parental love can explain why genetic offspring are more immune to lashing out by parents. They assert that, "Child-specific parental love is the emotional mechanism that permits people to tolerate –even to rejoice in – those long years of expensive, un-reciprocated parental investment". They point to a study comparing natural father, adoptive and stepfather families as support for the notion that step and adoptive parents do not view their non-biological children the same as their biological children, and likewise, children do not view their non-biological parents the same as their biological parents. This study, based on a series of questionnaires which were then subjected to statistical analyses, reports that children are less likely to go to their stepfathers for guidance and that stepfathers rate their stepchildren less positively than do natural fathers.Daly and Wilson’s reports on the over-representation of non-biological parents in Child homicide and abuse statistics support the evolutionary principle of maximizing one’s inclusive fitness, formalized under Hamilton's Rule, which helps to explain why humans will preferentially invest in close kin. Child adoption statistics also substantiate this principle, in that non-kin adoptions represent a minority of worldwide adoptions. Research into the high adoption rates of Oceana shows that is the most common reason for adopting childlessness, and that in the eleven populations for which data was available, a large majority of adoptions involved a relative with a coefficient of relatedness greater than or equal to 0.125 (e.g., genetic cousins). It is also observed that parents with both biological and adopted children bias the partitioning of their estates in favor of the biological children, demonstrating again that parental behavior corresponds to the principles of kin selection investment.
Strong support for the Cinderella effect as described by Daly and Wilson comes from a study of unintentional childhood fatal injuries in Australia. Tooley et al. follow the argument of Daly and Wilson to extend the Cinderella effect from cases of abuse to incidences of unintentional fatalities. Children are not only vulnerable to abuse by their parents, but they are also dependent on their parents for supervision and protection from a variety of other harms. Given that parental supervision is fundamentally correlated to incidences of unintentional childhood injury as shown by Wadsworth et al. and Peterson & Stern, Tooley et al. posit that selective pressures would favor an inclination towards parental vigilance against threats to offspring well-being. Tooley et al. further argue that parental vigilance is not as highly engaged in non-bio parents as genetic parents, therefore placing non-bio children at greater risk for unintentional injury.
In further support of the Cinderella effect as elaborated by Daly and Wilson, a study conducted in a rural village in Trinidad demonstrates that in households containing both genetic children and non-biologic children, fathers devote approximately twice as much time to interaction with genetic offspring in comparison to non-biologic children. Additionally, this study finds that the duration of the relationship between the stepfather and non-biologic children is negatively correlated with the relative proportion of interaction time and positively correlated with the relative proportion of antagonistic interactions between the two. As a proportion of total time spent interacting with genetic and non-biologic children, fathers are shown to have approximately 75 percent more antagonistic interactions with non-related children. In this study, antagonistic interactions are defined as involving physical or verbal combat or an expression of injury. This includes, for example, teasing, taunting, spanking, screaming, crying, and arguing. The duration of the relationship between genetic fathers and children shows a positive correlation with both relative proportion of interaction time and antagonistic interaction with non-biological children. The author argues that these results show that in terms of time invested, fathers favor genetic children over stepchildren, and this preference is not attributable to the duration of the father-child relationship, a factor which is sometimes believed to be a confounding variable in the Cinderella effect. Though this study does claim a significant increase in antagonistic behavior between non-biologic parents and non-biologic children and therefore supports the Cinderella effect, it also notes that only six percent of all the observed parent-child interactions were considered antagonistic, and that the researchers noticed any blatant physical child abuse.
Based on data gathered from the Australia National Coroners’ Information System, non-bio children under five years of age are two to fifteen times more likely to experience an unintentional fatal injury, especially drowning, than genetic children. Additionally, the study finds that the risks of unintentional fatal injury are not significantly higher for genetic children in single parent homes versus two-parent homes. This difference suggests that removing one biological parent from the home does not significantly increase risk to the children, but that adding a non biological parent to the home results in a drastic increase in the risk of unintentional fatal child injury. Despite the fact that adding a non-bio parent to the home increases the available resources in terms of supervision in comparison to a single-parent home, risk of unintentional fatal injury still significantly rises. This higher risk of injury for non-bio children can be attributed to the fact that non-bio parents occupy the same supervisory role as a genetic parent, yet they have a lower intrinsic commitment to protecting the child and therefore are less likely to be adequately vigilant. The authors conclude that the Cinderella effect applies not only to purposeful abuse by non-biologic parents, but is also relevant to explaining increased rates of accidental fatality.
The author uses the Mann-Whitney U-tests to evaluate most of the observed differences in care exhibited towards genetic and non-bio children, and finds that Hadza men spend less time with (U=96), communicate less with (U=94.5), nurture less, and never play with their stepchildren. Marlowe further argues that any care that is provided towards stepchildren is likely attributable to the man’s mating efforts and not parental interest in the well-being of the stepchildren ties among stepchildren.