Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Child abuse and false confessions

Compliance involves people responding favourably to requests. In some cases this can be a good thing but in other instances it can lead to people making false confessions when pressure by the police, people being pressurised by their peers to commit crimes and people taking the blame for others' midemeanours. Some studies have shown a significant association between adverse events in people's childhoods, such as physical and sexual abuse, and the tendency to make false confessions and a team of researchers from King's College London and the University of Iceland looked into this further in a study of 113 people receiving outpatient treatment for substance misuse. They found that 64% of the sample reported more than one type of abuse and that compliance was significantly related to parental neglect and physical and sexual abuse. People who suffered from stress and low self-esteem were more likely to have suffered neglect as children while people who were more compliant were more likely to have been sexually abused. Suffering from more than one type of abuse had a multiplying effect on people's tendency to be compliant.

Gudjonssson, Gisli Hannes,  Sigurdsson, Jon Fridrik and Tryggvadottir, Hjordis Bjorg - The relationship of compliance with a background of childhood neglect and physical and sexual abuse The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology DOI: 10.1080/14789949.2010.524707

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