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Risk Factors Associated with the Chronicity of High Potential for Child Abuse and Neglect

Abstract

The present 4-year follow-up study involves 56 mothers who were evaluated by social agencies as being abusive and neglectful or at high risk for child abuse and neglect. The aim of the study is to analyze the relationship between psychosocial risk factors (relating to the history and current situation of the mothers) that were present at the time the families were initially recruited and the fact that some of the mothers continue to show a high potential for child abuse and neglect (chronic abuse and neglect), whereas others were able to overcome the problem (transitory abuse and neglect). Results indicate that the following variables are particularly associated with situations involving chronic problems of abuse and neglect: initial level of severity of potential for abuse and neglect; dual-parent status; a large number of children at the time of intervention (3.13 times more risk of chronicity for large families); the fact that as a child the mother herself had been placed in a foster home (3.7 times more risk); that she had been sexually abused (3.5 times more risk); and that as an adolescent she had run away from home (3.02 times more risk). Our results indicate that mothers who have a combination of more than eight risk factors are four times more likely to be in the chronic group.

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Ethier, L.S., Couture, G. & Lacharité, C. Risk Factors Associated with the Chronicity of High Potential for Child Abuse and Neglect. Journal of Family Violence 19, 13–24 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOFV.0000011579.18333.c9

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  • risk factors
  • neglect
  • chronicity
  • abuse