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Loss of Child Well-Being: A Concept for the Metrics of Neglect and Abuse Under Separation and Divorce

Abstract

Non-sexual forms of child abuse and maltreatment are difficult to define because they range on a continuous scale between forms of impairment, neglect, endangering, acute danger, etc. Methods to treat this quasi-continuous problem are required to allow for reliable and reproducible decision making in the fields between child welfare and child protection. An empirical list of 151 items on hostile-aggressive parenting has been assessed by 13 experts from various disciplines by means of a Delphi procedure. Assessments show large rater variability and rater bias which can be attributed, among other factors, to differing experiences and different background among raters. We present a method by which assessments can be projected on a continuous scale of a ‘relative loss of child well-being’. As a solution for decision makers we provide threshold values and reference ranges for this loss of child well-being. The quantifications suggested by the present approach can support decision making at family courts and child protection agencies and the results can be used by professionals as well as by parents to comparatively evaluate own assessments of family or custody issues.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Wera Fischer (Praxis für systemische Familienberatung, Sinsheim), Prof. Dr. Rainer Treptow (Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft, Universität Tübingen), and Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Wulf (Institut für Kriminologie, Universität Tübingen) for having participated as raters in this study. This project has been partially supported by the Federal Ministry of Justice (Bundesministerium für Justiz), Germany.

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Duerr, H.P., Duerr-Aguilar, Y.A., Andritzky, W. et al. Loss of Child Well-Being: A Concept for the Metrics of Neglect and Abuse Under Separation and Divorce. Child Ind Res 8, 867–885 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-014-9280-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-014-9280-4

Keywords

  • Child well-being
  • Psychometrics
  • Hostile parenting
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological maltreatment