Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To contact support with questions…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can always contact us directly by sending an email to support@p-e-p.org.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

James, O. (2014). Emotional Child Abuse Has to Be Banned—The Science Backs up Our Instincts. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 8(2):vii-x.

(2014). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 8(2):vii-x

Emotional Child Abuse Has to Be Banned—The Science Backs up Our Instincts Related Papers

Oliver James

We cannot be blamed for feeling sceptical when this government talks of criminalising emotional abuse—parental harshness, hostility, and lack of love. These are the Uber-Thatcherites who talk up the “Big Society” but blame the individual. A wheeze for dumping their failure to support parents back on to them would be no surprise.

However, in proposing to make emotional abuse a crime, I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Many estimable campaigning groups, like Action for Children, have advocated such legislation.

The case for it comes from the nature as well as the nurture side of the debate. In a remarkably frank admission in a February edition of The Guardian newspaper this year, Robert Plomin, the country's leading genetic psychologist, admitted of the Human Genome Project's quest for genes for psychological traits of all kinds that “I've been looking for these genes for 15 years and I don't have any” (Wilby, 2014). It is an accepted fact that the latest evidence shows that specific genes, or groups thereof, explain only tiny amounts of variance (1%) for any psychological traits (psychopathology, personality, cognition). The implication of this finding was summarised in the heading of an editorial in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry: “It's the environment, stupid!” (Sonuga-Barke, 2010).

On the other side of the equation, the evidence for the role of maltreatment in causing emotional distress, in general (James, 2005), and emotional abuse in particular, has become overwhelming. Tellingly, this applies as much to the extreme of psychosis (Read & Dillon, 2013), as to the commoner problems, like depression and anxiety.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.