College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

How ineffective family environments can compound maldevelopment of critical thinking skills in childhood abuse survivors.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2014

Keywords

childhood abuse; critical thinking skills; executive functioning; family environment; maltreatment

Publication Title

Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.

ISSN

1053-8712

Volume

23

Issue/No.

6

Abstract

The high stress of childhood abuse is associated with neurobiological detriments to executive function. Child abuse survivors may also be cognitively and relationally disadvantaged as a result of being raised in emotionally impoverished families that lack cohesion, organization, flexibility, self-expression, and moral and ethical values and fail to provide opportunities for effective learning. A review of literature demonstrates how dysfunctional family of origin environments common to child abuse survivors, concomitant with the extreme stress of overt acts of abuse, can act as a barrier to the development of higher-order critical thinking skills. The article concludes by discussing ramifications of critical thinking skill deficits in child abuse survivors and highlights the importance of integrating and prioritizing critical thinking skills training in treatment.

DOI

10.1080/10538712.2014.931318

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