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Normalization of violence: experiences of childhood abuse by inner-city crack users.
J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2009; 8(1):15-34.JE

Abstract

An increasing literature mostly based on retrospective surveys has been consistently documenting a correlation between physical abuse in childhood (CPA) and substance abuse in adulthood (ASA). This article uses ethnographic data to reveal the processes behind and context of this linkage for one population-poor, inner-city New York residents who became crack users. Life in the inner city is qualitatively different than in more fortunate circumstances. CPA is but one of numerous stressors and factors contributing to ASA. Approximately half of the subjects reported clear recollections of being physically beaten by their mothers or their various male partners. Although several denied being beaten in childhood, they typically reported various forms of physical assaults that they "deserved." Physical assaults, especially by mothers, were often understood as expressions of love. As such, these respondents viewed their ongoing physical assaults as an ordinary part of their childhood and adolescence. Such physical punishment also socialized and prepared children for the violence that would likely occur during their childhood in their inner-city communities. This analysis highlights how reducing substance abuse in the inner city may require a much more comprehensive effort than a focus on reducing CPA. These findings also have important implications for quantitative research regarding CPA and ASA. Such studies should subdivide their analyses by socioeconomic status to more clearly measure how much of a risk factor CPA represents among wealthier populations and how much not being abused may serve as a protective factor among poor inner-city populations.

Authors+Show Affiliations

National Development and Research Institutes, New York, New York, USA.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19266372

Citation

Dunlap, Eloise, et al. "Normalization of Violence: Experiences of Childhood Abuse By Inner-city Crack Users." Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, vol. 8, no. 1, 2009, pp. 15-34.
Dunlap E, Golub A, Johnson BD, et al. Normalization of violence: experiences of childhood abuse by inner-city crack users. J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2009;8(1):15-34.
Dunlap, E., Golub, A., Johnson, B. D., & Benoit, E. (2009). Normalization of violence: experiences of childhood abuse by inner-city crack users. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 8(1), 15-34. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332640802683359
Dunlap E, et al. Normalization of Violence: Experiences of Childhood Abuse By Inner-city Crack Users. J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2009;8(1):15-34. PubMed PMID: 19266372.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Normalization of violence: experiences of childhood abuse by inner-city crack users. AU - Dunlap,Eloise, AU - Golub,Andrew, AU - Johnson,Bruce D, AU - Benoit,Ellen, PY - 2009/3/7/entrez PY - 2009/3/7/pubmed PY - 2009/5/23/medline SP - 15 EP - 34 JF - Journal of ethnicity in substance abuse JO - J Ethn Subst Abuse VL - 8 IS - 1 N2 - An increasing literature mostly based on retrospective surveys has been consistently documenting a correlation between physical abuse in childhood (CPA) and substance abuse in adulthood (ASA). This article uses ethnographic data to reveal the processes behind and context of this linkage for one population-poor, inner-city New York residents who became crack users. Life in the inner city is qualitatively different than in more fortunate circumstances. CPA is but one of numerous stressors and factors contributing to ASA. Approximately half of the subjects reported clear recollections of being physically beaten by their mothers or their various male partners. Although several denied being beaten in childhood, they typically reported various forms of physical assaults that they "deserved." Physical assaults, especially by mothers, were often understood as expressions of love. As such, these respondents viewed their ongoing physical assaults as an ordinary part of their childhood and adolescence. Such physical punishment also socialized and prepared children for the violence that would likely occur during their childhood in their inner-city communities. This analysis highlights how reducing substance abuse in the inner city may require a much more comprehensive effort than a focus on reducing CPA. These findings also have important implications for quantitative research regarding CPA and ASA. Such studies should subdivide their analyses by socioeconomic status to more clearly measure how much of a risk factor CPA represents among wealthier populations and how much not being abused may serve as a protective factor among poor inner-city populations. SN - 1533-2659 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19266372/Normalization_of_violence:_experiences_of_childhood_abuse_by_inner_city_crack_users_ L2 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15332640802683359 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -