Toxic Knowledge: Self-Alteration Through Child Abuse Work

Laura I. Sigad, Jonathan Davidov, Rachel Lev-Wiesel, Zvi Eisikovits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of the present article is to examine the multiple ways in which the private lives of professionals are affected by involvement with child abuse intervention and prevention. Using a descriptive-phenomenological perspective and 40 in-depth interviews with professionals to present a model based on qualitative data, we studied the ways in which child abuse professionals conceptualize, understand, and integrate their experiences into their personal and family lives. We find that the process of internalizing child abuse knowledge occurs in two domains: One affirms or denies the existence of the phenomenon; the other concerns the strategies used to contend with the effects of working in abuse. Knowledge of child abuse is toxic, in the sense that it serves as a catalyst leading to the alteration of one’s self-perception and parental identity. We present a typology of self-alteration resulting from child abuse knowledge and describe the mechanism of this change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-499
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • child abuse
  • child abuse professionals
  • identity formation
  • parental identity
  • types of knowledge

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