Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Edward Bennett

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

Mary K. Lane

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Frederick Binding

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


A random sample of the literature on child battering and interviews with parents who had battered their child was content analyzed. From paragraph themes which indicated causality for child battering, the presence of seven causal dynamics in child battering was noted. The causal dynamics included three factors (parent, child and context) and the interactions between and among the factors. All of the causal dynamics were found to exist in the interviews, literature and separately identified segments of the literature which delineated events immediately preceding an incident of battering. It was concluded that a strong possibility existed that all of the factors and interactions existed in reality. The parent-child and parent-context interactions were shown to be important causal dynamics in child battering. The possibility of the parent-child-context interaction being an important causal dynamic was suggested. A dichotomy between personal troubles of milieu and public issues of social structure for causal dynamics involving the context factor was found to be useful in conducting the content analysis. The dichotomy also yielded interesting results regarding the two aspects of the context factor. Based on all of the results, two theoretical models of child battering were presented. The ‘chain’ model viewed the child and/or the context interacting only with the parent to cause battering. The ‘triangular’ model viewed all of the factors interacting with each other to cause battering. Both models represented an open system rather than a closed system. The need for addressing preventative assistance to all of the causal dynamics at the same time, rather than focusing on an individual factor or interaction, was advanced. Characteristics of the individual factors and interactions contained in the models were speculatively suggested.

Convocation Year