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Child Abuse

Child Abuse

Sample Answer 

Child Abuse

Social Problems – Child Abuse

Description of the Problem

Child abuse occurs when a caregiver or parent (whether by acting or failing to take action) causes physical injury, psychological/emotional harm, and death to a child, as well as increases the risk of harm. Child abuse exists in different forms, ranging from emotional abuse, exploitation, sexual abuse, and physical abuse (through beating) to neglect. At least more than 60% of couples have accepted executing or perpetrating at least one type of child maltreatment (Sullivan, 2016).

How Society Influences Social Problems

As mentioned above, child abuse refers to the maltreatment of children in the form of physical injury, emotional trauma, or sexual abuse. It can occur in any community setting, including at school, church, home, hospital or healthcare settings, and so forth. Therefore, society’s environment (especially the elderly, such as parents, teachers, religious, and nurses) has a huge role to play in perpetuating and promoting child abuse. Some of the family factors that can encourage or increase the risk of child abuse include social isolation, financial stress, unemployment, single parenthood, domestic violence, and so on (Sullivan, 2016).

The Theoretical Perspective that best Aligns with the Selected Social Problem

The Functionalist Perspective is one of the most appropriate social theoretical frameworks that based aligns with child abuse, helping to explain the causes and impacts of child maltreatment in society. The Functionalist Perspective posits that “Society is a system made up of a number of interrelated elements, each performing a function that contributes to the operation of the whole” (Sullivan, 2016, p. 7).

Why the Functionalist Perspective best Explains the Child Abuse Problem

The primary reason why the Functionalist Perspective fits the child abuse social problem is that it provides a background or basis for explaining the causes, risks, and impacts of child maltreatment in society. For example, the theory was coined from the similarities sociologists initially observed in the interaction between biological organisms and society. This biological model found that the human body consists of several unique and interdependent elements, such as legs, hands, the brain, heart, nose, eyes, ears, and so on. Each of these body parts undertakes a specific and unique function; the brain coordinates and translates information received as signals from the sensory organs, such as the information the eyes transmit (Sullivan, 2016).

However, these parts are interdependent to allow the body to function properly, rather than exist as independent elements. If one body part fails – such as the lungs failing to breathe out carbon dioxide and take in oxygen – the whole system fails to function properly. Therefore, the Functionalist Perspective is best suited to child abuse because it explains how the different components of ‘society’ work and interconnect with one another and, therefore, failure of one to execute its function can negatively impact the other element and the general structure.

How the Social Problem came to be, and how it is perpetuated?

According to the Functionalist Perspective, society consists of individual elements that perform interconnected roles, with each of these functions contributing to the well-being of the entire structure. This statement can be interpreted to mean that society consists of families, schools, religious factions, hospitals, community leadership, employment settings, and so forth – which serve unique but interrelated roles. For example, the role of parents and the family setup is to raise children and give them all the essentials of life, including the basics like food, clothing, and shelter, as well as proper education and healthcare. Parents also serve an essential role in instilling the morals and values of society and humanity in their children. Most importantly, their role is to provide love, compassion, and security to the family members, especially their offspring. On the other hand, schools and religious factions also serve to educate children, prepare them for employment, and instill societal values and morals. Employers tap into the knowledge acquired in school and the general life skills to better society and generate profits.

Therefore, based on the Functionalist Perspective, child abuse came about (and is propagated) due to malfunctions at these individual parts of society. This simply means that child maltreatment stems from the failure of parents as heads of the family to perform their roles as responsible individuals, such as taking care of their children, protecting them from attack, sending them to proper and safe schools, and providing shelter, clothing, and food. All these failures predispose kids to maltreatment. The same applies to schools, religious factions, and so on.


Sierau, S., et al. (2018). Assessing psychological and physical abuse from children’s Perspective: Factor structure and psychometric properties of the picture-based, modularized child-report version of the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale-Revised (CTSPC-R). PloS One, 13(10), e0205401. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205401. eCollection 2018.

Sullivan, T. J. (2016). Introduction to social problems (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.


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Child Abuse

First, select a social problem to analyze throughout this course. You may select from the list or come up with a social problem you wish to analyze:
“Child Abuse”

Child Abuse

Child Abuse

In an essay format, cite one scholarly source from the GCU library in addition to the textbook and complete the following:

  • Describe your selected social problem in its social context. (55- 75 words).
  • Use your sociological imagination to explain how the selected social problem is influenced by society (75-100 words).
  • Select the theoretical perspective(s) (functionalist, conflict, and interactionist) that best aligns with the social problem you’ve selected to analyze in this course.
  • Explain why the theoretical perspective(s) you chose is best to explain the selected social problem.
  • Next, use that theoretical perspective(s) to explain how your selected social problem came to be and how it is perpetuated. (150-200 words)

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