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Head of The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context
Vol. 15. Num. 1. January 2023. Pages 9 - 22

Child-to-parent Violence Offenders (Specialists vs. Generalists): The Role of Direct Victimization at Home

[Menores con medidas judiciales por violencia filio-parental (especialistas vs. generalistas): el papel de la victimización directa en el hogar]

M. Carmen Cano-Lozano1, Lourdes Contreras1, María J. Navas-Martínez1, Samuel P. León1, and F. Javier Rodríguez-Díaz2


1University of Jaén, Spain; 2University of Oviedo, Spain


https://doi.org/10.5093/ejpalc2023a2

Received 14 November 2021, Accepted 22 July 2022

Abstract

Background/Objectives: Current research has identified direct victimization at home as one of the main predictors of child-to-parent violence (CPV). However, the mechanisms involved in this relationship have not been studied. Thus, we first analyze the differences between CPV offenders and offenders who have committed other types of offenses, as well as the differences between two types of CPV offenders: specialists (those who have only committed CPV) and generalists (those who have committed CPV in addition to other offenses), in multiple risk factors. Next, we specifically examine direct victimization at home and its relationship with social-cognitive processing in CPV. Method: The sample consisted of 208 Spanish young offenders recruited from the Juvenile Justice Service (163 males) aged 14-20 years. Concretely, 83 were CPV offenders, 126 other offenders and concerning the CPV group, 57 were specialists and 26 generalists. A wide range of individual, family, and social variables were evaluated. Results: Compared to other offenders, CPV offenders show more socio-cognitive difficulties, less parental warmth and more parental criticism/rejection, more direct victimization at home and more vicarious victimization at school and in the street. Specialist and generalist CPV offenders differ significantly in their characteristics, with the generalists showing a more negative profile than the specialists. The most important result is that direct victimization at home is linked to social-cognitive processing, and, while some of the variables (anticipation of positive consequences and justification of violence) are positively related to CPV motivated by instrumental reasons, other variables (anger and aggressive response access) are positively related to CPV motivated by reactive reasons. Conclusions: Dysfunctional social-cognitive processing is implicated in the relationship between direct victimization at home and CPV, varying the components involved depending on the reasons for the violence. It is discussed the implications of the obtained results for research and professional practice.

Resumen

Antecedentes/Objetivos: La investigación actual ha identificado a la victimización directa en el hogar como uno de los principales predictores de la violencia filio-parental (VFP). Sin embargo, los mecanismos implicados en esta relación no han sido estudiados. Así, en el presente estudio analizamos, en primer lugar, las diferencias entre jóvenes infractores con delitos relacionados con la VFP y jóvenes infractores con otro tipo de delitos, así como las diferencias entre dos tipos de infractores: especialistas (los que han cometido sólo delitos relacionados con la VFP) y generalistas (los que han cometido delitos relacionados con la VFP y además otros delitos), en múltiples factores de riesgo. A continuación, examinamos específicamente la victimización directa en el hogar y su relación con el procesamiento socio-cognitivo en la VFP. Método: La muestra estuvo compuesta por 208 jóvenes infractores españoles reclutados en el Servicio de Justicia Juvenil (163 chicos) con edades comprendidas entre los 14 y los 20 años. Concretamente, 83 con delitos relacionados con la VFP (57 especialistas y 26 generalistas) y 126 con otros delitos. Se evaluó una amplia gama de variables individuales, familiares y sociales. Resultados: En comparación con otros infractores, los jóvenes con delitos relacionados con la VFP muestran más dificultades socio-cognitivas, menos calidez parental y más crítica/rechazo parental, más victimización directa en el hogar y más victimización vicaria en la escuela y en la calle. Los especialistas y generalistas difieren significativamente en sus características, mostrando los generalistas un perfil más negativo que los especialistas. Más importante, la victimización directa en el hogar se vincula con el procesamiento socio-cognitivo y, mientras algunas de las variables (anticipación de consecuencias positivas y justificación de la violencia) se relacionan positivamente con la VFP motivada por razones instrumentales, otras variables (ira y acceso de respuesta agresiva) se relacionan positivamente con la VFP motivada por razones reactivas. Conclusiones: El procesamiento socio-cognitivo disfuncional está implicado en la relación entre la victimización directa en el hogar y la VFP, variando los componentes involucrados según los motivos de la violencia. Se discuten las implicaciones de los resultados obtenidos para la investigación y la práctica profesional.

Keywords

Child-to-parent violence, Young offenders, Direct victimization at home, Specialist offenders, Generalist offenders

Palabras clave

Violencia filio-parental, Jóvenes infractores, Victimización directa en el hogar, Infractores especialistas, Infractores generalistas

Cite this article as: Cano-Lozano, M. C., Contreras, L., Navas-Martínez, M. J., León, S. P., and Rodríguez-Díaz, F. J. (2023). Child-to-parent Violence Offenders (Specialists vs. Generalists): The Role of Direct Victimization at Home. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 15(1), 9 - 22. https://doi.org/10.5093/ejpalc2023a2

mccano@ujaen.es Correspondence: mccano@ujaen.es (M. C. Cano-Lozano).

Introduction

Child-to-parent violence (CPV) is defined as “any act by a child that is intended to cause physical, psychological, or financial damage to gain power and control over a parent” (Cottrell, 2001). This type of violent behavior also aims to dominate parents (Howard & Rottem, 2008). CPV is a form of family violence internationally recognized nowadays as a social problem, which has led to an increase of research in this topic in different countries (e.g., Beckmann, 2020; Cano-Lozano et al., 2021; Simmons et al., 2020).

CPV is gathered in the Spanish Criminal Code as a “domestic violence” crime. Young offenders aged 14-17 years are prosecuted in the juvenile justice system and under the terms of Organic Law 5/2000, which regulates the criminal responsibility of minors. CPV started to increase in Spain in the year 2005, and the number of cases increases every year. According to the data gathered in the Report of the Spanish Fiscalía General del Estado (2022), 4,740 judicial proceedings were initiated in the year 2021. However, these official data refer to those parents who report their children to the police, thus many cases of CPV are undetected. Likewise, different studies have shown that CPV behaviors are also present in young people who commit other crimes although, as expected, with less frequency and severity (Hernández et al., 2020; Ibabe et al., 2014; Martín et al., 2022).

The study of crime specifically linked to CPV and that linked to broader criminal patterns cannot only help to advance in the understanding of CPV, but it can also improve the current intervention approaches. The interest of the study of criminal typologies is that they show the underlying heterogeneity of criminal behavior (Boxall & Sabol, 2021). However, this aspect has been scarcely analyzed in CPV offenders. Furthermore, although previous research has identified multiple risk factors in CPV, their role in the development of CPV has not been examined in depth. Thus, we first analyze the differences (and similarities) between CPV offenders and offenders who have committed other crimes, also exploring different groups of CPV offenders: those whose only crime is CPV (specialists) and those who show a broader pattern of criminal behavior (generalists). Next, we specifically examine the role of direct victimization at home, one of the main risk factors of CPV, and the implication of social-cognitive processing in this relationship.

Research on Individual, Family, and Social Variables in CPV Offenders

There are different theoretical frameworks aimed at explaining the etiology and development of this type of violence. From an ecological perspective (Hong et al., 2012), it is proposed a model of multiple variables that influence the development of CPV in different levels (macrosystem, exosystem, microsystem, and ontogenetic). This model provides a useful framework to integrate the results of the recent research that relates CPV to several individual, family, and social variables.

Regarding individual variables, studies conducted with judicial samples have shown that CPV offenders present a more hostile perception of parental authority and of the family environment in general (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015), as well as deficits in cognitive skills to solve interpersonal problems compared to other young offenders (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015; Martín et al., 2022); furthermore, a large proportion of CPV offenders also show high levels of anger (Armstrong et al., 2018). Studies performed with community populations have reported that CPV is related to hostility (Rosado et al., 2017), hostile attribution, anger, aggressive response access, and anticipation of positive consequences of the aggressive action (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015; Contreras et al., 2020). Regarding empathy, the results are inconclusive. For instance, studies that analyzed judicial proceedings found lower levels of empathy in CPV offenders compared to other young offenders (Ibabe & Jaureguizar, 2010). A recent study has pointed out that CPV offenders present more empathy problems than CPV aggressors from a clinical context (Loinaz & Ma de Sousa, 2020). However, in the study of Martín et al. (2022), also conducted with a judicial sample, this variable was not associated with CPV. Similarly, in studies performed with community populations, empathy was not a predictor of CPV (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015; Contreras et al., 2020). In regard to the justification of violence, Loinaz and Ma de Sousa (2020) observed that a significantly higher percentage of CPV offenders in the judicial scope presented more attitudes or beliefs that justified violence in comparison with other CPV aggressors from clinical contexts. Some studies with community populations have also found that the justification of violence predicts CPV (Junco-Guerrero et al., 2022) and, more specifically, instrumental CPV (Contreras et al., 2020). In relation to impulsivity, studies with community and judicial samples have found a direct relationship between this variable and CPV (Del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2020), whereas the analyses of differences between groups show similar levels of impulsivity between CPV offenders and other underage criminals (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015) and between CPV offenders and CPV aggressors from a clinical context (Loinaz & Ma de Sousa, 2020). Moreover, judicial studies have also reported a pattern of drug use in a large proportion of young people who commit CPV crimes (Armstrong et al., 2018), as well as a positive relationship between drug use and CPV (Del Hoyo-Bilbao et al., 2020). Despite the seemingly clear relationship between drug use and CPV, no significant differences have been found in this variable between CPV offenders and other offenders (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015; Hernández et al., 2020; Ibabe et al., 2014).

Very few studies have examined gender differences in the aforementioned individual variables. Among these studies, it has been found higher levels of anger in girls than in boys, both in judicial populations (Armstrong et al., 2018) and in community populations (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015). Studies with community populations have identified that girls show greater anticipation of positive consequences of aggression compared to boys (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015), whereas boys present higher levels of justification of violence (Calvete, Orue, et al., 2015; Junco-Guerrero et al., 2022).

In relation to the variables associated with the family context, in the study of Contreras and Cano-Lozano (2014), conducted with a judicial population, CPV offenders perceived less parental warmth and more parental criticism/rejection compared to other young offenders and non-offenders. In this line, community studies report that low parental warmth (Calvete, Orue, et al., 2015) and maternal emotional rejection are associated with CPV (Zhang et al., 2019). Regarding gender differences, it has been observed that boys perceive less parental warmth than girls (Calvete, Orue, et al., 2015) and, in the study by Ibabe (2019), girls reported higher levels of family conflict and lower levels of family cohesion than boys.

Exposure to violence in different contexts is a variable that has been traditionally associated with the development of violent behaviors, especially during adolescence (e.g., Margolin et al., 2010). In CPV, exposure to violence in the family context (including both direct and vicarious victimization) is a significant predictor of this type of violence (Gallego et al., 2019). Specifically, empirical studies with judicial populations point out that adolescents who attack their parents present higher levels of exposure to violence at home compared to other young offenders (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2016; Cuervo, 2021; Hernández et al., 2020). The relationship between CPV and exposure to violence at home has also been consistently observed in studies with community populations (e.g., Beckmann, 2020; Calvete, Orue, et al., 2015; Margolin & Baucom, 2014; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022a; Simmons et al., 2020), finding, in addition, that direct victimization has a greater predictive capacity for CPV than vicarious victimization (e.g., Beckmann, 2020; Margolin & Baucom, 2014; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022a).

In regard to exposure to violence in other contexts, Contreras and Cano-Lozano (2016) detected that offenders of other crimes showed higher levels of exposure to violence in the street compared to CPV offenders. In relation to other social variables, it has also been found that a significantly higher percentage of CPV offenders have deviant peer groups compared to other young offenders (Kennedy et al., 2010) and to CPV aggressors from clinical samples (Loinaz & Ma de Sousa, 2020).

With respect to gender differences, Armstrong et al. (2018), in a judicial study using secondary data, observed that the girls from the group of CPV offenders presented more experiences of direct victimization (physical, sexual or emotional). The studies with community samples do not reveal conclusive data. In the study of Calvete, Orue, et al. (2015), boys and girls reported similar levels of exposure to violence at home. In other study, the girls reported higher vicarious victimization (Beckmann, 2020). In regard to exposure to violence at school and in the street, boys have reported higher levels of both direct and vicarious victimization compared to girls (Calvete & Orue, 2011).

In summary, although research on individual, family and social variables linked to CPV has increased in recent years, most of the studies have been conducted with community populations, being research with judicial samples scarcer. Many of the aforementioned variables do not yet have enough empirical support, although it is expected that the influence of these potential risk factors will be more powerful in this population. In addition, the judicial judgment serves as the gold standard to classify all of them as authentic child-to-parent offenders (Gallego et al., 2019). Finally, gender differences have been scarcely analyzed, especially in CPV offenders.

Research on Types of CPV Offenders

The study of different types or profiles of offenders has gained remarkable interest in the last decades (e.g., Boyle et al., 2008). However, few studies about CPV have focused on the analysis of different profiles (Boxall & Sabol, 2021; Moulds et al., 2019; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022b, 2022c), especially compared to the attention paid to other types of violence, such as gender violence (e.g., Boyle et al., 2008; Herrero et al., 2016; Moffitt et al., 2000).

Among the different types of offenders proposed, one of the most influential classical dimensions is generality of violence (Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart, 1994). This descriptive dimension contemplates two circumstances (extra-family violence and criminal behaviors/legal involvements) that lead to two subtypes of offenders (family-only batterer and generally violent/antisocial batterer). These two subtypes have been empirically reported in community studies that differentiate between aggressors that exert only gender violence and those who also exert extra-family violence in addition to gender violence (Boyle et al., 2008), as well as in judicial studies that distinguish between batterers who have committed only gender violence crimes and those who have also committed other crimes in addition to gender violence (Herrero et al., 2016; Moffitt et al., 2000).

In the field of CPV, only a judicial study has analyzed the differences between these two types of offenders and only with respect to gender and age (Moulds et al., 2019). The study identified a greater proportion of boys in the group of generalist offenders than in the group of specialist offenders, reporting no differences with respect to the age of the offenders. According to the proposition of Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994), the family-only batterer (hereinafter specialist) differs from the generally violent/antisocial batterer (hereinafter generalist). The severity of the violence exerted by the specialist batterer is low, whereas that of the generalist batterer is moderate-high. In this respect, other studies (e.g., Herrero et al., 2016) state that in judicial populations these two types of offenders are sentenced for the same crime, thus the levels of violence between them are expected to be similar. Likewise, Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) propose that specialist batterers are characterized by moderate levels of anger and empathy, low levels of attitudes supporting violence and low-moderate levels of impulsivity and drug use, whereas generalist batterers show moderate levels of anger, low levels of empathy, and high levels of attitudes supporting violence, impulsivity, and drug use. Herrero et al. (2016), in a study with imprisoned male batterers, found results in line with this proposition regarding impulsivity and drug use, detecting higher levels in generalist batterers than in specialist batterers.

In relation to the family environment, Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) proposed that parental rejection is low-moderate in specialist batterers and high in generalist batterers, whereas exposure to parental violence is low-moderate in specialist batterers and moderate-high in generalist batterers. Herrero et al. (2016) analyzed family climate and family functioning in the biological family, finding that family functioning (e.g., affection) was similar between specialists and generalists, while family conflict was greater in specialists.

Lastly, it has been found that generalist offenders come from more conflictive social contexts in terms of coexistence with communities with greater frequency of criminal situations (e.g., theft, assault; Herrero et al., 2016). Similarly, according to Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994), generalist aggressors are characterized by high levels of association with deviant peers, whereas specialists present low levels in this variable.

In conclusion, the study of the generalist and specialist aggressors has been developed in other fields of study of violence. Although the research on this aspect in CPV is starting in community samples (Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022b), there is only one judicial study that analyzes this profile of CPV offenders and that is focused on sociodemographic variables (Moulds et al., 2019). Therefore, it would be of interest to extensively analyze the differential characteristics of this profile in CPV offenders.

The Role of Direct Victimization at Home in CPV

One of the variables that has received greater empirical support in the scientific literature about CPV is exposure to violence at home (e.g., Beckmann, 2020; Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2016; Cuervo et al., 2021; Hernández et al., 2020; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022c; Simmons et al., 2020). However, the occurrence of exposure to violence at home, as a risk factor, does not explain, on its own, how this leads an adolescent to behave in a violent manner with his/her parents. It is necessary to know the processes through which the experiences of exposure to violence influence CPV. This was proposed by a previous study with adolescents of a community population (Contreras et al., 2020), based on the social information processing (SIP) model (Crick & Dodge, 1996), which postulates that the processing of social information leads to antisocial behavior and determines the effects of life experiences in the later aggressive behavior. The results of the study of Contreras et al. (2020) confirm that exposure to violence at home is related to dysfunctional components of the social-cognitive processing and that while some of these components (anticipation of positive consequences of aggression and justification of violence) are positively related to instrumental use of violence against parents, other components (anger and aggressive response access) are positively related to motivated CPV for reactive reasons. In that study, exposure to violence at home included both direct and vicarious victimization. It would be interesting to separately analyze both types of victimization experiences and determine the role of each of them. The present study specifically analyzes direct victimization at home and its relationship with the social-cognitive processing in CPV. We decided to focus on direct victimization at home because different studies highlight its especially relevant role in CPV.

The Present Study

The present study analyzes the types of CPV and their reasons, as well as a wide range of risk factors at different levels: individual (social-cognitive processing, justification of violence, impulsivity, and drug use), family (parental warmth and criticism/rejection, direct, and vicarious victimization at home), and social (exposure to violence in other social contexts and deviant peer groups) in a sample of young offenders.

The first objective was to analyze the differences in individual, family, and social variables between adolescents who have committed CPV offenses and those who have committed other offenses, additionally examining differences based on gender. The second objective was to explore the differences between two types of CPV offenders: specialists (those who have only committed CPV offenses) and generalists (those who have committed other offenses in addition to CPV) in those same variables. Lastly, the third and more relevant objective, was to analyze the role of social-cognitive processing in the relationship between direct victimization at home and CPV.

Based on the empirical literature review conducted, we proposed the following hypotheses:

H1: Differences between CPV offenders and other offenders. The group of CPV offenders is expected to show higher levels in all types of CPV compared to other offenders (Ibabe et al., 2014), in addition to more socio-cognitive difficulties (Armstrong et al., 2018; Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015; Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015; Contreras et al., 2020; Martín et al., 2022), parental criticism/rejection (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2014), direct and vicarious victimization at home (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2016; Hernández et al., 2020; Kennedy et al., 2010), and deviant peers (Kennedy et al., 2010), as well as less empathy (Ibabe & Jaureguizar, 2010) and parental warmth (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2014). Both groups of offenders will present similar levels of impulsivity (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015) and drug use (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015; Hernández et al., 2020; Ibabe et al., 2014). Given the absence of empirical work with judicial samples, no predictions about gender differences were made.

H2: Differences between specialist and generalist CPV offenders. Generalist CPV offenders is expected to present a greater proportion of boys (Moulds et al., 2019), higher levels of justification of violence, impulsivity, drug use, parental criticism/rejection, direct and vicarious victimization at home and deviant peers, and less empathy than specialist CPV offenders (Herrero et al., 2016; Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart, 1994). Both groups will present similar levels of CPV (Herrero et al., 2016; Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart, 1994), anger (Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart, 1994) and parental warmth (Herrero et al., 2016), and no differences in age are expected (Moulds et al., 2019).

H3: The role of direct victimization at home. It is expected that direct victimization at home is related to CPV towards the father and the mother through social-cognitive processing. Specifically, anticipation of positive consequences of the aggression and justification of violence will be related to the instrumental use of CPV, whereas anger and aggressive response access will be related to CPV motivated by reactive reasons (Contreras et al., 2020).

Method

Participants

The sample includes 208 young offenders recruited from the Juvenile Justice Service of Jaén (Andalusia) and Oviedo (Asturias), regions in the south and north of Spain, respectively, under Organic Law 5/2000 of Juveniles’ Criminal Responsibility. The age ranged from 14 to 20 years (Mage = 16.4, SD = 1.4) and 163 (78.4%) were males. The socio-economic levels were: 21.6% low, 67.3% middle, and 10.6% high. Regarding parental marital status, 44.2% were divorced/separated and 34.6% were married.

Concretely, 83 (39.9%) were adolescents with offenses related to CPV (CPV offenders; 63 males, 20 females, Mage = 16.2, SD = 1.3) and 125 (60.1%) were adolescents who had committed other types of offenses, such as theft (48.8%), assault (18.4%), crimes against public safety (6.4%), or robbery (5.6%) (other offenders; 100 males, 25 females, Mage = 16.5, SD = 1.3). The legal measures in the CPV offenders were internment (38.6%), family/educational coexistence (34.9%), probation (20.5%), and socioeducational work (2.4%), whereas in other offenders the legal measures were internment (27.2%), probation (25.6%), socioeducational work (24.8%), family/educational coexistence (4%), community work (3.2%), and outpatient treatment (1.6%). The extrajudicial measures were imposed on 3.6% of the CPV offenders and on 13.6% of the other offenders.

Concerning the CPV group, 57 adolescents (68.7%) had offenses only related to CPV (specialist CPV offenders; 40 males, 17 females, Mage = 15.9, SD = 1.2) and 26 adolescents (31.3%) had offenses related to CPV and other offenses (generalist CPV offenders; 23 males, 3 females, Mage = 16.6, SD = 1.4), such as theft (34.6%), assault (19.2%), and crimes against the authority (19.2%) and against public safety (7.7%). The legal measures in specialist CPV offenders were family/educational coexistence (36.8%), internment (33.3%), probation (21.1%) and socioeducational work (3.5%), whereas in generalist CPV offenders the legal measures were internment (50%), family/educational coexistence (30.8%), and probation (19.2%). The extrajudicial measures were imposed only on the specialist CPV offenders (5.3%).

Instruments

The participants provided information about socio-demographic (age, gender, nationality), family (socio-economic situation, parental marital status), and judicial data (offenses, judicial measures, criminal records). The judicial data were also confirmed by the juvenile justice technicians.

The Child-to-Parent Violence Questionnaire (CPV-Q; Contreras et al., 2019)

The CPV-Q is composed of 14 parallel items (for the father and the mother) that demonstrate different behaviors of CPV: psychological, physical, financial, and control/domain over their parents. The participants have to indicate the frequency of these behaviors in the last year. Each of the items is answered using a 5-point scale ranging from 0 = it has never occurred to 4 = it has occurred six times or more. In addition, it includes eight items regarding the instrumental reasons (IR) and reactive reasons (RR) for violence towards parents, measured by a 4-point scale ranging from 0 = never to 3 = always.

Social Information Processing (SIP) in Child-to-parent Conflicts Questionnaire (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015)

The adolescents were asked to imagine three scenarios consisting of different conflicts with their parents. There were 9 items for each scenario to assess five components of SIP, and each item was responded to using a 5-point response scale ranging from 0 = not at all to 4 = to a great extent: hostile attribution (AH), anger (AN), aggressive response access (ARA), the anticipation of positive consequences of the aggressive action (CP), and empathy (EM).

The Justification of Violence Subscale (JV) of the Irrational Beliefs Scale for Adolescents (ECIA; Cardeñoso & Calvete, 2004)

It consists of 9 items that reflect the idea that aggression is appropriate in different situations. Adolescents were asked to respond in a 4-point response scale ranging from 1 = totally disagree to 4 = totally agree.

The Impulsivity Subscale (IMP) of the Cognitive and Social Strategies and Attitudes Questionnaire (AECS; Moraleda et al., 1998)

There were 7 items and the adolescents were asked to respond to each item in a 4-point scale (1 = totally disagree, 4 = totally agree).

Drug Use Questionnaire

This instrument was designed ad hoc for this study. The adolescents were asked to indicate how often they have used different drugs (tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, hashish, cocaine, speed, ecstasy) in the last year, on a scale of 1 = never to 5 = daily.

The Warmth Scale (WS; Fuentes et al., 1999)

The WS is made up of 20 items, divided into two factors: (a) warmth-communication and (b) criticism-rejection by parents towards their children. Each factor consists of 10 items rated on a scale ranging from 1 = never to 5 = always.

The Exposure to Violence Scale (EV; Orue & Calvete, 2010)

It is a Spanish 21-item questionnaire that assesses both direct and vicarious exposure to violence in the contexts of home, school, street, and TV. Each item is rated on a scale ranging from 1 = never to 5 = every day.

Deviant Peers Questionnaire

This instrument was designed ad hoc for this study, based on the Deviant Peers Scale of Barnow et al. (2005). It has a total of 4 items, with which the adolescents were asked to indicate whether their friends have been involved in criminal activities, show violent behavior, skip school, and/or use drugs. The response scale ranges from 1 = none of them to 4 = all.

The information on the psychometric analysis of all assessment instruments in this study is described in the Results section.

Design and Procedure

A descriptive study with cross-sectional surveys was designed. Firstly, the study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Jaén, Spain (Ref. CEIH 270215-1). The research required the authorization of the Directorate General of Juvenile Justice of Andalusia and the collaboration of the Juvenile Justice Service of Jaén and Oviedo (Spain). Once official authorization was obtained, parents’ consent for us to assess their children was requested. Parents were informed about the aim of this study and the confidentiality of the data. In addition, the adolescents were also informed about these aspects and their consent was requested. To ensure confidentiality, each participant received an identification code. No incentive was offered in exchange for participation. The evaluation was conducted individually in the corresponding judicial institution and by members of the research team trained specifically in this protocol.

Data Analyses

Analyses were carried out using R software version 4.1.2 (Ihaka & Gentleman 1993) running on the RStudio terminal version 1.2.5001 (RStudio Team, 2015). Before conducting a factorial treatment of the data obtained from the scales, we performed a data screening to analyze the distribution and assumptions. Mardia’s multivariate normality test was performed to analyze the multivariate normality of each scale. This analysis revealed that our data did not show a normal multivariate distribution. To explore the assumption of additivity, we analyzed the correlations between the items of the scale. No item showed multicollinearity (r > .90), and none of them demonstrated singularity (r > .95). To evaluate linearity, homogeneity and homoscedasticity assumptions, linear regression was performed with random numbers and scale scores. The distribution of the residuals resulting from the regression was analyzed. Any anomaly shown by the residuals that failed to comply with any of the assumptions would be due to our data (Kline, 2015). The resulting distribution did not violate any assumptions, showing a distribution of standardized regression residuals mostly between –2 and +2. For missing values, after confirming that the missing values were randomly distributed, multiple imputation was conducted with the MICE package of R (Buuren & Groothuis-Oudshoorn, 2011), although missing values were only imputed when there were less than 5% of missing values for each case and variable. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted with the lavaan package in R (Rosseel, 2012). A robust variant of weighted least squares (WLSM) was used as the estimation method for CFA (Finney & DiStefano, 2013) to account for multivariate non-normality. Cronbach’s a and McDonald’s ω were used to assess reliability (Revelle, 2019).

The variables obtained through the scales were our dependent variables (DV). However, prior to their use, these variables were scaled, that is, the scores given by the participants were scaled by the factor loadings resulting from the CFA. Below we analyze the differences found in the DVs according to our grouping variable. In a first step, we conducted a 2 (type of offender, CPV offenders vs. other offenders) x 2 (gender, male vs. female) ANOVA for each DV. In a second analysis, we performed a one-way ANOVA with the variable type of CPV offender (specialist CPV offenders vs. generalist CPV offenders) for each DV. The analyses by gender were not performed because the number of girls in the generalist group was very small.

Finally, we proposed a structural equation based model to analyze the relationships between the proposed variables in the case of both violence towards the mother and violence towards the father. These models are based on the model proposed in Contreras et al. (2020), although, in this case, the exogenous variable “exposure to violence” was replaced with “direct victimization at home” (DV home). Of the total number of participants in the study, 168 participated in the father model and 198 in the mother model. The analysis of the SEM model was performed by PLS-SEM using the SEMinR r package (Ray et al., 2022). PLS-SEM has proved to be a very popular alternative in SEM processing in recent decades. PLS-SEM is an ideal technique to analyze complex models that do not require large sample sizes (Reinartz et al., 2009); moreover, this technique does not impose any specific distribution assumptions (Chin, 2010). PLS-SEM works with blocks of variables (components) and estimates model parameters by maximising the explained variance of all dependent variables (both latent and observed) and minimising the residual variance of these variables (Chin, 1998). The analytical approach of the basic PLS approximation algorithm follows a two-step process. The first step seeks to estimate the latent variable scores until convergence is reached and, in the second step, the final weights, loadings and coefficients of the model are estimated by means of OLS regressions (Henseler et al., 2012).

To evaluate the structural model, we analyse whether there is a potential collinearity problem through the variance inflation factor (VIF), which measures the degree to which the standard error of an indicator has increased due to the presence of collinearity. In the context of PLS-SEM, we will consider a power problem with a VIF > 5. To analyse the structural model, we will evaluate the path coefficients of the model. PLS-SEM is a nonparametric method, which is why it is necessary to bootstrap the model to estimate standard errors and compute confidence intervals in order to get a measure of the significance of the model relationships (Hair et al., 2021). Recently, it has been suggested that the final model should be obtained through 10,000 subsamples (Streukens & Leroi-Werelds, 2016). Through the coefficient of determination (r2) we will know the amount of explained variance of an endogenous construct explained by the exogenous constructs linked to it. In addition to the significance of the model relationships, the f2 statistic measures the size of this effect. Following Cohen (1988), f2 values of 0.002, 0.15, and 0.35 represent small, medium, and large effect sizes, respectively.

Results

Psychometric Analysis of the Scales

In the first analytical phase, we evaluated the psychometric properties of the scales used in order to confirm the internal consistency and validity of the scales used in the target population. Table 1 shows the summary results of the CFA carried out with each of the scales. This table shows both the fit indices of the models analyzed for each scale and the reliability indices. According to the obtained results, all scales showed an acceptable to excellent fit (Hair et al., 2010), as well as good-excellent reliability indices.

Table 1

Fit Indexes and Reliability for the Scales Used

Note. df = degree of freedom; CFI = comparative fit index; RMSEA = root mean square error approximation; SRMR = standardized root mean square residual (SRMR); CI = confidence interval. CPV-F = Child-to-Parent Violence Questionnaire – Father; CPV-M = Child-to-Parent Violence Questionnaire – Mother; Reasons = Questionnaire on Reasons for CPV; SIP = Social Information Processing Scale; JV = Justification of Violence subscale; IMP = Impulsivity subscale; Drug Use = Drug Use Questionnaire; W-F = Warmth Scale – Father; W-M = Warmth Scale- Mother; EV = Exposure to Violence Scale; DP = Deviant Peers Questionnaire.

Comparison of Means between Populations

In this analytical phase, we analyzed the possible differences found in the different variables evaluated through the scales used. To this end, a 2 (type of offender, CPV offenders vs. other offenders) x 2 (gender, male vs. female) ANOVA was performed with each DV. The results of this analysis are presented in Table 2 and 3. Table 2 presents the results of the main effects (type of offender and gender) resulting from the 2 x 2 ANOVA and Table 3 presents the results of the interaction. The CPV offenders presented significantly higher levels in all types of CPV towards the mothers and towards the fathers and in both types of reasons to commit CPV compared to the other offenders. Regarding the differences based on gender, the girls showed significantly higher levels of CPV towards the mother compared to the boys, both in physical violence and in control and domain behaviors, whereas no differences were found based on gender in CPV towards the father. Focusing on the gender differences in the group of CPV offenders, it was observed that females showed significantly higher frequencies of CPV towards the father (physical) and towards the mother (physical and psychological) compared to boys. In relation to the reasons for CPV, the girls presented more reactive reasons than the boys.

Table 2

Main Effects Results from 2 x 2 ANOVA

Note. CPV-F = Child-to-Parent Violence Questionnaire – Father; CPV-M = Child-to-Parent Violence Questionnaire – Mother; Phy = physical; Psy = psychological; Fin = financial; CD = control/domain; RR = reactive reasons; IR = instrumental reasons; HA = hostile attribution; AN = Anger; ARA = aggressive response access; PC = positive consequences of aggression; EM = empathy; JV = justification of violence; IMP = impulsivity; DU = drug use; W-F = warmth-father; W-M = warmth-mother; C-F = criticism-father; C-M = criticism-mother; DV home = direct victimization at home; VV home = vicarious victimization at home; DV school = direct victimization at school; VV school = vicarious victimization at school; DV street = direct victimization in the street; VV street = vicarious victimization in the street; DP = deviant peers.

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.

Table 3

Interaction Results from 2 x 2 ANOVA

Note. CPV-F = Child-to-Parent Violence – Father; CPV-M = Child-to-Parent Violence – Mother; Phy = physical; Psy = psychological; Fin = financial; CD = control/domain; RR = reactive reasons; IR = instrumental reasons; HA = hostile attribution; AN = anger; ARA = aggressive response access; PC = positive consequences of aggression; EM = empathy; JV = justification of violence; IMP = impulsivity; DU = drug use; W-F = warmth-father; W-M = warmth-mother; C-F = criticism-father; C-M = criticism-mother; DV home = direct victimization at home; VV home = vicarious victimization at home; DV school = direct victimization at school; VV school = vicarious victimization at school; DV street = direct victimization in the street; VV street = vicarious victimization in the street; DP = deviant peers.

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.

Table 4

Results from One way ANOVA

Note. CPV-F = Child-to-Parent Violence – Father; Phy = physical; Psy = psychological; Fin = financial; CD = control/domain; RR = reactive reasons; IR = instrumental reasons; HA = hostile attribution; AN = anger; ARA = aggressive response access; PC = positive consequences of aggression; EM = empathy; JV = justification of violence; IMP = impulsivity; DU = drug use; W-F = warmth-father; W-M = warmth-mother; C-F = criticism-father; C-M = criticism-mother; DV home = direct victimization at home; VV home = vicarious victimization at home; DV school = direct victimization at school; VV school = vicarious victimization at school; DV street = direct victimization in the street; VV street = vicarious victimization in the street; DP = deviant peers. Type = type of CPV offenders.

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.

With regard to individual variables, CPV offenders showed significantly higher levels of hostile attribution, anger, aggressive response access and anticipation of positive consequences of aggression than the other young offenders. CPV offenders also presented significantly lower levels of empathy with respect to the other young offenders. No significant differences were found between both groups of offenders in drug use and justification of violence. Regarding gender differences, the girls showed significantly higher levels of anger and the boys showed higher levels of drug use compared to the girls. No gender differences were found in the rest of the variables. In the analysis of the interaction of the type of offender by gender, no differences were found in levels of anger between girls and boys of the CPV group, nor in the group of other offenders. Female CPV offenders also showed higher levels of aggressive response access and anticipation of positive consequences of aggression, as well as lower levels of empathy, both when compared with male CPV offenders and with the girls of the group of other offenders.

With regard to family variables, CPV offenders perceived significantly less warmth from the father than the other offenders, as well as more criticism/rejection both from the father and from the mother. Regarding gender differences, the girls perceived less warmth from the father and the mother than the boys. No differences were observed based on gender in parental criticism/rejection. In relation to the interaction between the type of offender and gender, no significant differences were detected in parental warmth or parental criticism/rejection. Furthermore, CPV offenders reported a greater direct victimization at home than the other young offenders, showing no significant differences in vicarious victimization. Regarding gender differences, the girls reported greater direct and vicarious victimization at home compared to the boys. Furthermore, the girls of the CPV group showed higher levels of direct victimization at home when compared to both the boys of the CPV group and the girls of the group of other offenders.

In relation to social variables, CPV offenders reported higher levels of observation of violence in all contexts in comparison with the other offenders. No significant differences were observed in deviant peers.

Table 4 shows the results of the one-way ANOVA taking the grouping variable type of CPV offenders (specialist CPV offenders vs. generalist CPV offenders) for each of the DVs. No differences were found between specialist and generalist CPV offenders as a function of gender χ2(1, 83) = 3.2, p = .071, whereas age did show differences t(81) = -2.2, p = .031. Specifically, the specialists had a younger average age (Mage = 15.9, SD = 1.2) compared to the generalists (Mage = 16.6, SD = 1.4). Statistically significant differences are also found between the two groups in some individual, family, and social variables. Specifically, generalist CPV offenders obtain higher scores in justification of violence, impulsivity, drug use, criticism/rejection from father, exposure to violence in the street, and deviant peers compared to specialist CPV offenders. No significant differences were found in the pattern of violence or in the other psychosocial variables analyzed.

Modelling Estimation with PLS-SEM

As a first step in the analysis of the proposed structural models for fathers and mothers, we estimated PLS-SEM models and analyzed the variance inflation factor (VIF) of both models in order to rule out possible multicollinearity problems. VIF values were between 1.088 and 1.821 (see Table 5), well below 3.3, e.g., the considered value at which collinearity problems are established (Hair & Sarstedt, 2019).

In the next step, we analyzed the structural models by exploring the magnitude (β), significance (bootstrap t) and effect size (f2) of the standardized regression coefficients evaluated through the models. Additionally, we analyzed the explained variance of endogenous variables through the coefficient of determination (r2). To estimate the standardized values of the models, we performed a bootstrap resampling for 10,000 subsamples (Streukens & Leroi-Werelds, 2016).

Table 5

Interaction Results from 2 x 2 ANOVA

Note. DV home = direct victimization at home; JV = justification of violence; PC = positive consequences of aggression; EM = empathy; HA = hostile attribution; AN = anger; ARA = aggressive response access; IR = instrumental reasons; RR = reactive reasons; CPV-F = Child-to-Parent Violence Father (Panel A); CPV-M = Child-to-Parent Violence Mother (Panel B). f2 = size effect index; VIF = inner model variance inflation factors.

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.

Figure 1 presents the results of the structural model for both the CPV towards fathers (panel A) and mothers (panel B) after bootstrapping. As can be seen, all relationships in both models are significant except for DVhome→EM, HA→RR, and EM→ IR. In addition, in the case of fathers’ model, the relationship PC→IR was not significant either.

Figure 1

PLS-SEM Bootstrapping Model Representation.

Note. DV home = direct victimization at home; JV = justification of violence; PC = positive consequences of aggression; EM = empathy; HA = hostile attribution; AN = anger; ARA = aggressive response access; IR = instrumental reasons; RR = reactive reasons; CPV-F = Child-to-Parent Violence Father (Panel A); CPV-M = Child-to-Parent Violence Mother (Panel B). f2 = size effect index; VIF = inner model variance inflation factors.

The variance explained on endogenous variables (r2) in the analyzed models (Figure 1), in fathers’ model (panel A), was r2HA= .111, r2AN= .092, r2ARA= .142, r2PC= .118, r2EM= .015, r2JV= .115, r2IR= .126, r2RR= .386, r2CPVF= .490, and in mothers’ model (panel B), the variance explained was r2HA= .101, r2AN= .083, r2ARA= .144, r2PC= .131, r2EM= .006, r2JV= .078, r2IR= .145, r2RR= .371, r2CPVM= .525. The minimum value considered predictive on endogenous variables is .10 (Falk & Miller, 1992), thus, in our model, AN and EM in both models, and JV in mothers’ model did not exceed this predictive value. It is worth noting that our models can predict the variance of parental violence by 49% in the case of fathers and 52.5% in the case of mothers.

When analyzing the contribution of exogenous variables on endogenous variables through f2, small, medium, and large contribution are considered for f2 values above .02, .15, and .35, respectively (Hair et al., 2019). As is shown in Table 5, these minimum values are not exceeded in the case of DVhome→EM, HA→RR, AN→RR, EM→ IR in none of the models, and also in PC→IR in the case of mothers’ model.

Discussion

Individual, Family and Social Variables in CPV Offenders

The first objective of this study was to analyze differences in individual, family and social variables between CPV offenders and other offenders, also examining differences based on gender. The results partially confirmed Hypothesis 1. CPV behaviors also appeared in the group of other offenders, although, obviously, with lower frequency, which is in line with previous studies (Hernández et al., 2020; Ibabe et al., 2014). Regarding gender differences, an explanation for the higher violence from girls towards their mother compared to boys may be the that girls perceive their mothers as weaker than their fathers, so girls may see themselves as more capable to physically aggress and control their mothers. Focusing on the CPV group, the fact that the violence is higher in the girls than in the boys may be because aggressions cause a greater perception of risk when perpetrated by boys, so parents take longer to report on their daughters, and when they do it is because of very serious behaviors. Studies performed with community samples have also found that girls exerted more psychological CPV than boys (Calvete, Orue, et al., 2015), although no differences were found in physical CPV as a function of the aggressor’s gender (e.g., Beckmann et al., 2021). However, the frequency and severity of violent behaviors towards parents are expected to be high in judicial samples. In relation to the reasons for CPV, the girls presented more reactive reasons than the boys. These results are consistent with studies conducted with adolescents of community populations (Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022c), which seems to indicate that CPV is more reactive in the girls than in the boys.

With regard to individual variables, our results confirm that CPV offenders present more socio-cognitive difficulties than the other young offenders (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015) and from young of normative populations (Fandiño et al., 2021). The results obtained with community samples also show the relationship of these variables with CPV (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015; Contreras et al., 2020). Furthermore, in our study, CPV offenders presented lower levels of empathy with respect to the other young offenders, which is in line with the results of Ibabe and Jaureguizar (2010), but not with those of Martín et al. (2022) obtained with judicial samples, nor with those obtained with community samples (Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al., 2015; Contreras et al., 2020). Therefore, further research is required on the role of this variable on CPV. Otherwise, as expected and in line with previous studies, both groups of offenders showed similar levels of drug use (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015; Hernández et al., 2020; Ibabe & Jaureguizar, 2010; Ibabe et al., 2014) and impulsivity (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2015). The absence of differences in justification of violence seems to indicate that, although some studies have found that this variable is related to CPV (e.g., Junco-Guerrero et al., 2022), it is not a characteristic that differentiates CPV offenders from other offenders. Regarding gender differences, girls in general showed higher levels of anger, which is in line with the results of Calvete, Gámez-Guadix, et al. (2015). No gender differences were found in the rest of the variables. In the analysis of the interaction of the type of offender by gender, the higher levels of aggressive response access and anticipation of positive consequences of aggression in girls of the CPV group, as well as lower levels of empathy, both when compared with the male CPV offenders and with the girls of the other offenses group, indicate that these girls presented the most socio-cognitive and emotional difficulties compared to the rest of the groups.

The results related to the family variables are consistent with what was expected to be obtained and in line with those reported in studies conducted with judicial samples (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2014) and in studies with community samples (Calvete, Orue, et al., 2015; Cano-Lozano et al., 2022; Cano-Lozano et al., 2020; Seijo et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2019). The perception of less warmth and more criticism/rejection from parents in the group CPV offenders highlights the importance of this dimension of educational styles in this type of family violence. Regarding gender differences, in agreement with previous studies (Beckmann et al., 2021; Calvete, Orue, et al., 2015), the girls perceived less warmth from the father and the mother than the boys.

Furthermore, as was expected, CPV offenders reported a greater direct victimization at home than the other young offenders, showing no significant differences in vicarious victimization, which is in line with the previous study of Contreras and Cano-Lozano (2016). However, in the study of Hernández et al. (2020) CPV offenders also presented higher levels of vicarious victimization at home compared with the other young offenders. Nevertheless, in the combined analysis of both types of victimization, direct victimization was the one that differentiated both types of offenders. Previous studies with community samples have detected that direct and vicarious victimization at home are related to and predict CPV (e.g., Beckmann, 2020; Junco-Guerrero et al., 2022; Margolin & Baucom, 2014; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022a) and that direct victimization predicts to a greater extent the CPV committed towards both parents compared to vicarious victimization (Beckmann, 2020; Margolin & Baucom, 2014; Navas-Martínez & Cano-Lozano, 2022a). Regarding gender differences, the higher levels of victimization at home in girls compared to boys, especially in the group of CPV offenders, are consistent with the results by Armstrong et al. (2018), which also pointed out that the girls who commit CPV crimes usually report more experiences of different types of direct victimization with respect to the boys. Therefore, the fact that girls reveal higher levels of victimization at home compared to boys, together with the higher levels of anger, could explain that higher reactive violence in girls.

Lastly, in relation to social variables, unlike in other studies (Contreras & Cano-Lozano, 2016; Hernández et al., 2020), in the present study CPV offenders reported higher levels of observation of violence in all contexts in comparison with the other offenders. The absence of differences in the deviant peers seems to indicate that the association with deviant groups responds to a generalized pattern among young offenders.

In summary, the results indicate a differential profile of CPV offenders with respect to the other young offenders. Specifically, young people who commit CPV crimes present more difficulties in some variables such as hostile attribution, anger, aggressive response access, anticipation of positive consequences of aggression, and empathy. They also report more experiences of direct victimization at home than other young offenders, as well as higher levels of vicarious victimization at school and in the street. Regarding gender differences, girls in general report higher levels of anger and direct and vicarious victimization at home, while boys report more drug use. Specifically, it is observed that the girls in the CPV group report more violent behavior towards both the father and the mother than the boys in the CPV group. These girls are the ones who present more problems in variables such as aggressive response access, anticipation of positive consequences of aggression, and empathy, as well as more experiences of direct victimization at home compared to CPV boys, thus corroborating the importance of these variables, especially in girls, in CPV behaviors.

Types of CPV Offenders

The second aim was to explore the differences between the two types of CPV offenders: specialists (those who have only committed CPV crimes) and generalists (those who have also committed other crimes in addition to CPV). The results partially confirmed Hypothesis 2. As mentioned above, in judicial samples only one study on CPV has analyzed the differences between these two types of CPV offenders and it is only focused on sociodemographic characteristics (Moulds et al., 2019). Regarding these variables, our results show that specialists and generalists do not differ as a function of gender, and specialists are younger than generalists. These results are not in line with those of the study of Moulds et al. (2019), who reported a greater proportion of generalist boys and a similar age in both groups. A possible explanation for the discrepancies could be the different age ranges of the studies. Specifically, in the Australian sample it ranges from 10 to 17 years, whereas in the present study it ranges from 14 to 19 years.

In regard to the levels of CPV, as was expected, specialist and generalist CPV offenders do not differ in CPV levels or in the reasons to commit it, suggesting that they share a similar violent profile. These findings would further support the efficacy of classification according to the type of crime. Given that what links both subtypes of offenders is CPV crime, it would be expected that they would not differ in the levels of CPV, but that other characteristics would distinguish them. Therefore, this finding could suggest that in the most serious cases in which there is a police report of CPV the frequency of violent behaviors will be the same in all cases, independently of aggressor subtype. Likewise, in line with similar studies related with violent behavior (Herrero et al., 2016; Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart, 1994), generalists are characterized by higher levels of impulsivity and greater tendency to justify violent behaviors and drug use compared to specialists. These characteristics could facilitate the involvement of these adolescents in a greater number of crimes. Furthermore, these two types of CPV offenders do not differ in socio-cognitive and emotional variables. These results are in line with those reported by Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart (1994), who detected similar levels of anger between the two aggressor types, but not in empathy, showing lower levels of the latter in the generalists. This suggests that in the field of CPV socio-cognitive and emotional difficulties, in addition to being more characteristic of CPV offenders than of other young offenders, are present in different types of CPV offenders.

In regard to the family variables, it was found that generalists were characterized by higher levels of criticism-rejection from the father than specialists, which is in agreement with the results reported by Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) regarding parental rejection. However, both types of offenders share similar levels of perceived parental warmth and exposure to violence. These data are not consistent with those of Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994), who reported greater exposure to parental violence in the group of generalists, and those of Herrero et al. (2016), who detected greater family conflict in the group of specialists. However, the fact that in our study both types of offenders shared most of the family correlates is in line with the idea that both the general and specialized antisocial trajectories of gender violence are related to the existence of families of dysfunctional origins (e.g., Farrington, 2003; Lussier et al., 2009).

Lastly, with respect to social variables, generalists showed higher levels of exposure to violence in the street compared to specialists, which is in line with the results of Herrero et al. (2016), who found that generalists seemed to come from more disordered communities. Moreover, generalists interacted with more deviant peers than specialists, which is in agreement with the findings of Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart (1994).

In conclusion, our data suggest that although specialist and generalist CPV offenders share similar characteristics in terms of pattern of violence, some individual characteristics and family environment, they also differ in some features. Concretely, specialists are younger and generalists present higher levels of justification of violence, impulsivity, drug use, parental criticism-rejection, exposure to violence in the street, and more deviant peer group.

Direct Victimization at Home in CPV

The third aim of this study was to analyze the role of social-cognitive processing in the relationship between direct victimization at home and CPV. Thus, Hypothesis 3 is almost entirely accepted. Direct victimization at home is positively related to different components of socio-cognitive processing: hostile attribution, anger, aggressive response access, anticipation of positive consequences of aggression and justification of violence. In line with the results of previous study (Contreras et al., 2020), although more specifically referred to direct victimization at home, this type of victimization is linked to the development of maladaptive social-cognitive processing. Furthermore, the study highlights the relationship of anticipation of positive consequences of aggression and justification of violence with instrumental CPV in the case of the mother (only justification of violence in the case of the father) and the relationship of anger and aggressive response access with reactive CPV. In summary, our results indicate that the use of violence by parents towards their children influences the development of maladaptive social-cognitive processing in adolescents. On the one hand, the experience of this type of violence is related to emotional dysregulation, as well as greater accessibility to aggressive responses, aspects that, in turn, are related to reactive type CPV. On the other hand, victimized youth may have normalized the use of violence and thus tend to justify violence and choose it as the main strategy to resolve conflicts or obtain what they want, aspects that in turn are related to CPV of the type instrumental.

Limitations and Future Research

The study has some limitations that should be considered. Firstly, the reduced number of girls in the generalist CPV group has not allowed to conduct gender analysis in these groups. However, the scarce number of girls in this group reflect the reality. Secondly, data are cross-sectional, and, therefore, causal inferences cannot be made. It is necessary to conduct further studies that allow separating distant and near effects of exposure to violence at home in the later development of CPV and determining the mechanisms involved in each of the effects (Gallego et al., 2019). Thirdly, data are based on self-reports of young people. The judicial context of the participants can influence them to hide negative characteristics and/or simulate positive characteristics (Arce et al., 2015; Fariña et al., 2017). Thus, future studies should include measures of social desirability and obtain data from other informants. Lastly, our data were collected in two Spanish provinces, which does not allow generalizing the results to the population of young offenders of other Spanish territories or different criminal systems in other countries.

Conclusions and Implications

Despite limitations, and although additional research is needed, this study offers three main contributions. Firstly, it identifies a wide range of individual, family, and social characteristics that differentiate CPV offenders from offenders of other crimes, considering also gender differences. Another important contribution is the analysis of specialist and generalist CPV profiles. To date, there is only one study that has analyzed these profiles in judicial studies. Lastly, the most important contribution is that this study provides evidence of the dysfunctional socio-cognitive processes involved in the relationship between direct victimization at home and reactive and instrumental CPV. Data provided can have important implications for research and professional practice. The study of types of CPV and, more specifically, crime linked to CPV, as well as that associated with broader criminal patterns, provides empirical evidence that CPV offenders are not a homogeneous group, and this can be useful in the identification of different explanatory mechanisms in CPV. Also, this information will be useful in the design of different intervention strategies based on the needs of the different profiles of young offenders. Likewise, it is very important to pay attention to the deficits in cognitive and emotional skills associated with previous experiences of direct victimization at home in CPV aggressors for both prevention and intervention.

Conflict of Interest

The authors of this article declare no conflict of interest.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their gratitude to the General Directorate of Juvenile Justice and Cooperation of the Junta de Andalucía and the Juvenile Justice Service of Jaén, Spain, for the authorization and collaboration in the study.

Funding: This research was funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund, grant number PSI2015- 65950-R.

Cite this article as: Cano-Lozano, M. C., Contreras, L., Navas-Martínez, M. J., León, S. P., & Rodríguez-Díaz, F. J. (2023). Child-to-parent violence offenders (specialists vs. generalists): The role of direct victimization at home. European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 15(1), 9-22. https://doi.org/10.5093/ejpalc2023a2

References

Cite this article as: Cano-Lozano, M. C., Contreras, L., Navas-Martínez, M. J., León, S. P., and Rodríguez-Díaz, F. J. (2023). Child-to-parent Violence Offenders (Specialists vs. Generalists): The Role of Direct Victimization at Home. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 15(1), 9 - 22. https://doi.org/10.5093/ejpalc2023a2

mccano@ujaen.es Correspondence: mccano@ujaen.es (M. C. Cano-Lozano).

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