Blame and family conflict: Symptomatic children as scapegoats

Rivka Yahav, Shlomo A. Sharlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study's aim was to examine the relation between children's symptom type, specifically externalized vs. internalized symptoms, and children's perception of being blamed by family members for various family conflicts. The research hypothesis was based on theories of family therapy, in particular on the concept of scapegoating and projective identification processes. The subjects were chosen from treatment centres for children and adolescents, using the Achenbach Self-Report Questionnaire. Subjects included males and females, aged 10-17, who had either internalized or externalized symptoms and no history of organic or psychotic disorders. The control group consisted of non-symptomatic children. The research groups also included each child's sibling closest in chronological age, who served as an additional control group. A total of 161 children participated in the study. It was found that externalizing children reported greater subjection to parental blame than did the other children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2002


  • Blame
  • Children
  • Family conflict
  • Scapegoat
  • Symptom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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