The objective of the proposed project is to identify the consequences of maltreatment (physical, emotional and sexual abuse and gross neglect) for children's cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Negative consequences are assumed to occur, not simply as a direct effect of maltreatment, but as a result of a more complex set of interacting factors in the maltreating family. The effect of service intervention strategies in reducing or preventing the consequences will also be examined. A key feature of the proposed project is the availability of previously unanalyzed data from a longitudinal study of more than 450 maltreated and non-maltreated children. These data are derived from a large and varied set of measurement procedures - parent interviews, observations of parent-child interactions, cognitive testing of the child, behavioral assessment of the child by parents and teachers, observations of the child in the preschool classroom, analyses of the child's school record and analyses of the family's child welfare case record, if any. Steps in the project will be to define the developmental dimensions which may be affected by maltreatment, identify changes over time in these dimensions, specify and test alternative models to explain the impact of maltreatment on these dimensions. Case studies will also be developed to examine children who do not fit the expectation that maltreated children will manifest developmental deficits. Finally, the impact of services directed at reducing or preventing the negative consequences will be examined. Several statistical procedures will be used. Central to these will be structural equation modeling to examine the complex relationships to be specified in the models. This approach has the distinct advantage over multiple regression of requiring precise specification of assumptions and hypothesized relationships, of allowing for testing alternative models, of adjusting for error in variables and avoiding regression artifacts. Anticipated outcomes are a clearer definition of the consequence of maltreatment, a more precise description of how maltreatment results in the consequences and a clearer indication of the effectiveness of service intervention strategies. Such outcomes can be significant for policy and planning decisions aimed at enhancing the well-being of maltreated children.
|Herrenkohl, E C; Herrenkohl, R C; Rupert, L J et al. (1995) Risk factors for behavioral dysfunction: the relative impact of maltreatment, SES, physical health problems, cognitive ability, and quality of parent-child interaction. Child Abuse Negl 19:191-203|