Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Conceptual Analysis of the Child, Childhood, and Family Trauma: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

428P (see Poster Gallery) Conceptual Analysis of the Child, Childhood, and Family Trauma: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Omowunmi Olaleye, MSW, Research Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrance, KS
Background/Purpose: From the eighteenth century to date, different societies have constructed the definition of a child based on different factors. Frequently, childhood has been constructed based on the context of the family unit including the experiences absorbed from the environment which affect later life. Individuals’ perceptions of childhood experiences can strongly influence their future health and well-being. Many times, these perceptive experiences differ based on the society, culture, ethnicity, or background to which a child is exposed. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as instances of abuse and other dysfunctional home environments, show strong positive associations with cumulative physical and mental illness, yet less is known about how childhood experiences impact later adult life from a cross-cultural perspective (Hughes et al, 2016).

In this study, the United States and Nigeria will be used as comparative case studies to examine the historical development which occurred in conceptualizations of childhood and family dysfunction from the twentieth century through modern times in each country and in the context of child welfare. The purpose of this analysis is to compare historical and current conceptualizations of the child in the context of adversity or traumatic childhood experiences across two cultural settings.

Theoretical Framework: The family system theory provides a cultural perspective for understanding the impact of family dynamics on a child which results in later adverse adulthood outcomes. It culturally amplifies inclusiveness of gender, ethnicity, race, social class, and sexual orientation, as well as family history, values, and rituals. It is important to move the margin to the center or use cultural groups as their own points of reference when defining childhood and family processes.

Conclusion/Analysis Implications: This presentation highlight provides an overview of how the concept of a child or how childhood can be generalized or differentiated within the family context across culture or society and how understanding these concepts provide a lens in dealing with traumas experienced in childhood. This new perspective on ACEs and the children who experienced them is essential to assess ACEs in terms of both geography and race to examine each group’s risk factors about parenting and their home environment. The implications analyzed put into appropriate context how research, theory, and policy can support the study of AECs in making an appropriate contribution to the field of social work and what impact it hopes to achieve in the long run. For social work education, this study emphasizes the importance of cross-cultural context for examining childhood trauma and providing interventions, tools, and resources that appropriately evaluates outcomes for proper policy implementation that effectively support international social work research.