A behavioural perspective on the scapegoat theory

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The 'scapegoat theory', which implicates marital distress as causally related to child problems, is reviewed here. The impact of this theory on family therapy is discussed, as well as its lack of impact on behaviourally-oriented interventions with families. Research is reviewed which relates to the assumptions implicit in the theory, including a more detailed report of a study dealing with the issue of causal relationships. Finally, a revised formulation of the scapegoat theory is proposed, which takes both recent research findings and behavioural theories into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-124
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioural Social Work and Abstracts
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981


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