By Bennett, Paul

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Extra info for Clinical psychology: psychopathology through the lifespan

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1978) defined the characteristics of ‘anorexic families’ as being enmeshed, over-protective, rigid, and conflict-avoidant. That is, there is conflict between parents that is controlled and hidden. , adolescence is a stressful time for such families, as the adolescent’s push for their independence within the family increases the risk of the parental conflict being exposed. The development of anorexia prevents total dissension within the family, and may even hold it together as the family unites around the ‘identified patient’.

Parents in high-conflict marriages are typically less warm towards their children, more rejecting, harsher in their discipline, more depressed, and fathers in particular are likely to withdraw from the parenting role. Unsurprisingly, these factors impact on the child. Children in high-conflict marriages are more likely to experience emotional and behavioural problems, including poor academic performance, aggression, delinquency, poor self-esteem, and depression. This marital discord rather than divorce itself may be the primary predictor of poor outcomes.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the child’s response to bullying has implications for both the amount of bullying they experience and its emotional impact. Agoston and Rudolph (2011) found that what they termed adaptive stress responses, involving ‘effortful engagement’, reduced the negative emotional effects of peer stresses associated with bullying, teasing, and social isolation. Disengagement tended to increase isolation and low mood. Risky behaviours Risk for mental health problems may be associated with a number of risky behaviours, the most obvious of which is the use of intoxicants such as alcohol and street drugs.

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