Abstract: The Effects of Parental Abuse on Adolescent's Depression and Anxiety: Role of Social Withdrawal (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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The Effects of Parental Abuse on Adolescent's Depression and Anxiety: Role of Social Withdrawal

Friday, January 13, 2023
South Mountain, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Dayoon Park, Graduate student, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Seoyoon Jane Lee, MSW, Ph.D student, Yonsei University, Korea, Republic of (South)
Background/Purpose: Republic of Korea has seen an increase in the number of child abuse cases under the age of 18 every year. Approximately 2.2 times more child abuse cases were reported in 2020 (n=42,251) than in 2015 (n=19,214), according to the government's annual report on child abuse in 2020. Parents accounted for 82.1% of those who abused children. Social withdrawal is one of the biggest problems among adolescents. Adolescents who are socially withdrawn have a high possibility of experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression when they adjust to a new environment. They may also find it difficult to get along with others even as adults, and in severe cases, high levels of depression and anxiety can also lead to adolescents' suicide. In Republic of Korea, adolescents' depression and anxiety are very serious compared to other countries, which causes various problems. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of parent’s abuse on children’s depression and anxiety and to verify the mediating effect of social withdrawal.

Methods: Data and samples: The data of 13th child additional data of the 2018 Korean Welfare Panel was used for analysis. As of the data collection, the survey was administered to students enrolled in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades of middle school(n=391). Total of 383adolescents were included after excluding missing values and non-respondents.

Measures: Parent’s abuse is comprised of 1 physical abuse, 3 emotional abuse, and 4 neglect items, a total of 8 items. Based on the time of the survey, the experience of adolescents in the past year was assessed. A score is assigned to each item according to the frequency ranging from ‘never’ to ‘about 1-2 times a week’ from 1 to 5 points. The higher the score, the greater the level of parental abuse. To assess social withdrawal and depression/anxiety, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was used and each item was given 1 to 3 points depending on how strongly they agreed among 9 and 14 questionnaires, respectively. A higher score indicates a higher level of social withdrawal and depression/anxiety.

Results: Statistical significance was determined through linear regression analysis, and unstandardized beta (β) coefficients with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported. The results showed that the parent’s abuse was positively associated with adolescents’ depression/anxiety ((β =.348, 95% CI = .169~.527) and social withdrawal (β =.149, 95% CI = .023~.276) after the adjustment. The result of verifying the complete or indirect effect through the SPSS MACRO bootstrap, the mediating effect coefficient was .1200 (95% Confidence Interval [CI]= .0054 ~ .2364). Therefore, the result suggests that social withdrawal plays a significant indirect mediating role between parental abuse and depression/anxiety among adolescents.

Conclusions and Implications: Parental abuse is strongly linked to depression/anxiety in adolescents. Social withdrawal plays a significant role in the two. This study will help to better understand the significance of parental abuse on psychological aspects and its impact on adolescents. It is imperative to detect and intervene early in order to prevent parental abuse and its consequences.