Andrew Trounson | May 07, 2008
Reference source: The Australian ArticleCHILDREN with a step-parent or no biological parent are significantly more at risk than those with a single parent or both biological parents.
An Australian study of more than 900 coronial inquiries into child deaths from violence or accident appears to bear out theories of the so-called Cinderella effect.
Psychologist and researcher at Melbourne's Deakin University Greg Tooley said that despite sensitivities over the issue, the findings should not be ignored and child-welfare agencies needed to take it into account when assessing at-risk cases.
Dr Tooley's study found that children with a step-parent were at least 17 times more likely to die from intentional violence or accident. A limited version of the study found that the rate could be as high as 77 times.
Dr Greg Tooley saidIt would be very good, I think, if an awareness of this were to lead to better targeted interventions.
It was possible that sensitivities over targeting children with step-parents might be getting in the way of agencies identifying it as a risk factor.
It is certainly difficult to talk about because it is such a hot issue…
It found the risk was higher if there were no biological parents, such children being at least 22 times more prone. Most at risk were children under five.
Overall, Dr Tooley found that children with a single biological mother were no more at risk than children with both biological parents.
But he did find that children of single mothers were three times more at risk of drowning.
Dr Tooley said the findings appeared to back up theories that parents were biologically driven to be extremely protective of their offspring, less so than step-parents.
The theory has widespread parlance in folklore and fairytales, such as that of Cinderella, who is banished to cleaning duties by her jealous step-mother and sisters.
Dr Tooley stressed that the findings were not about attacking step-parents, but simply identifying risk factors.
He speculates that this probably becomes more of a factor in child welfare when families are under stress.
Dr Tooley saidWe have to look at the flipside, which is all the good that step-parents do,
I'd be disturbed if we didn't use the information. The vast majority of step-parents are outstanding, but they aren't as equipped with the same protective drive as a biological parent.
Dr Tooley saidI feel these factors are happening at the real edge when families are under a lot of pressure
Email Greg directly: Greg TooleyEven when using the most conservative possible analytic approach, in which all cases in which family type was unclear were classified as being from an intact biological family, step children under 5 years of age were found to be at significantly increased risk of unintentional fatal injury of any type, and of drowning in particular. Children from singleparented families were generally not found to be at significantly increased risk of intentional or unintentional fatal injury, while children who lived with neither of their biological parents were at greatest risk overall for fatal injury of any type.
Click this link for a summary of Daly and Wilson's research (the people who started it all in the 80s)
Warick Marshe , Fatherhood Foundation saidThere has been a concerted attempt over the last few decades to demonize men, fathers and the nuclear family. The truth has always been the same. The safest place for a child to grow up is with his/her natural biological mother and father in a committed marital relationship.
Dr Greg Tooley released some very important research last week which was reported in the Australian newspaper. We did a feature story on Dr Greg Tooley's important research findings in our weekly Fathersonline.
The truth of the matter is even worse than has been reported in the Australian as Dr Tooley told me when I interviewed him. His research paper is attached in the library for your perusal. He also told me about the wonderful work done by Daly & Wilson (M2) and there ground breaking research you will probably never hear about in our politically correct media.
Please read the link above to the truth about "Cinderella Syndrome" for your self. It is absolutely horrifying.
Having said that I want to honour and thank the many stepfathers who are doing an excellent and much needed job. More power to you. We cannot afford to demonise anyone. Our job is to simply speak the truth in love. The reality is when we tamper with our Makers instructions the problems we can cause can be simply catastrophic. Unfortunately our children are the ones that often pay the price for our negligence.