Risk Factors for Child and Adolescent Maltreatment

Mersky, J.P., Berger, L., Reynolds, A., Gromoske, A. (2009). Risk factors for child and adolescent maltreatment. Child Maltreatment.

This study investigates associations between individual, family, and extrafamilial factors and the likelihood of subsequent childhood and adolescent maltreatment.

The authors analyzed 1,411 participants in the Chicago Longitudinal Study whose maltreatment records were verified from administrative data.

Findings suggest that maternal age at the child’s birth was a robust predictor of maltreatment outcomes. Receipt of public assistance and single-parent family status were significantly associated with select outcomes. Among school-age indicators examined, parent participation in school was negatively associated with most maltreatment outcomes. Participation in the Chicago Child-Parent Center program was negatively associated with maltreatment, although effects varied by type and timing of maltreatment. In separate analyses, several factors were associated with neglect, but only maternal age at the child’s birth was associated with physical abuse.

Findings suggest that prevention programs may need to target select populations and specific mechanisms associated with different types of maltreatment to maximize effectiveness.

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