Psychosocial factors associated with types of child maltreatment

Michelle Deninno DiLauro, Fordham University


This study examined if there is a relationship between certain psychosocial factors or clusters of factors and parents'/caretakers' behaviors regarding the type of maltreatment inflicted on a child. The type of maltreatment inflicted was categorized as physical abuse, neglect or both physical abuse and neglect. The researcher specifically wanted to determine if there is a differentiation between these parental profiles. Greater insight regarding characteristics associated with different types of child maltreatment would promote more appropriate interventions and treatment plans being tailored to address the specific needs of the caretaker and child. This research is an explanatory, descriptive study and was conducted by utilizing a cross-sectional study design. Data for this research was collected by conducting a chart review on records of parents/caretakers that have been referred to a central New Jersey evaluation center for psychological evaluations due to physical abuse and/or neglect allegations. Cases were referred to the center primarily by the NJ Division of Youth and Family Services. Demographic information, family history, and results from the Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1990) were obtained from 140 perpetrators referred for evaluation of their psychological and social functioning, as well as their ability to parent. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample and inferential statistics were used to determine associations between certain psychosocial factors and type of maltreatment. Multivariable statistical procedures, specifically a multinomial logistic regression, was used to analyze a number of these variables simultaneously. Results from this study show that physical abuse and neglect seem to be associated with very different stressors that affect particular family members and the functioning of a family. Findings suggest that external stressors, related to socioeconomic and environmental factors, seem to be associated more with neglect behaviors. Stressors due to interpersonal issues seem to be related to physical abuse. Physical abusers seem to have greater difficulty in dealing with relationships and interacting with others. Outcomes of this study will provide caseworkers, expert evaluators, and the courts increased knowledge about specific stressors that need to be addressed in the treatment plan in order to more effectively curtail the cycle of abuse that is occurring.

Subject Area

Social work|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Welfare|Criminology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

DiLauro, Michelle Deninno, "Psychosocial factors associated with types of child maltreatment" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3005917.