Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 333–348

Risk Factors for Family Abduction: Demographic and Family Interaction Characteristics

  • Peggy S. Plass
  • David Finkelhor
  • Gerald T. Hotaling

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022805005953

Cite this article as:
Plass, P.S., Finkelhor, D. & Hotaling, G.T. Journal of Family Violence (1997) 12: 333. doi:10.1023/A:1022805005953


Previous research in the study of family abduction has been plagued by three problems in efforts to establish risk factors for the experience of these events: (1) failure to use appropriate comparison groups; (2) focus on only the most severe cases of abduction, without consideration of the full spectrum of these events; and (3) use of data drawn only from some “reported” source (i.e., police, court, or missing children agency reports). This paper addresses these three methodological difficulties, using data drawn from a national sample of families, and including both abducted and nonabducted children. We find that race, age of children, family size, and incidence of violence in the family all appear to bear on the risk of experiencing a family abduction event. Further, recency of divorce or separation appears to be associated with the risk for more serious or alarming cases of family abduction.

risk factorsfamily abductionfamily interaction characteristics

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peggy S. Plass
    • 1
  • David Finkelhor
    • 2
  • Gerald T. Hotaling
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburg
  2. 2.Family Research LaboratoryUniversity of New HampshireDurham
  3. 3.University of MassachusettsLowell