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According to Vogel and Bell (I960), scapegoating is a social process in which tensions between or among group members are projected either onto a member of the group or onto an outsider. They suggest that the scapegoat serves the function of alleviating or channeling group tensions by "taking the blame." On the basis of the intensive study of a small group of families, each with an emotionally disturbed child, and a matched sample of "well" families, none of which manifested any disturbance, Vogel and Bell (1960) suggest that scapegoating within their sample of families is characterized by the following features: the scapegoat is an identified patient (usually a child) who is in some way "different" or exceptional, discipline is inconsistent (especially with reference to the patient's presenting problem) , tension and value-conflict exist between the parents, and affect-expression is minimal between the parents.