Child maltreatment as a function of cumulative family risk: Findings from the intensive family preservation program

Irina Patwardhan, Kristin Duppong Hurley, Ronald W. Thompson, Walter A. Mason, Jay L. Ringle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined child maltreatment as a function of cumulative family risk in a sample of at-risk families (N = 837) who were referred to an intensive family preservation program because of child behavior problems or suspected child abuse and neglect. The goal of this intensive family preservation program is to improve parenting skills and reduce immediate family stressors that may lead to an increased risk of child abuse and neglect. The findings indicate that the most prominent family risks comprising the cumulative risk scale in our sample were socio-economic disadvantage (e.g., income, unemployment, housing instability) and parental characteristics (e.g., mental/physical health, parental use of alcohol, domestic violence). Further, the results demonstrated a strong quadratic trend in the relationship between cumulative family risk and child maltreatment, and identified a risk threshold effect at three cumulative family risks after which the child risk for maltreatment increased exponentially. These findings are interpreted in the light of the current research on differentiative interventions, supporting differentiated services to the families with low vs. higher risk for child maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume70
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Child maltreatment
  • Cumulative risk
  • Family preservation
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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