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Child Abuse Negl. 2007 Nov-Dec;31(11-12):1117-42. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

How neighborhoods influence child maltreatment: a review of the literature and alternative pathways.

Author information

1
Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Erratum in

  • Child Abuse Negl. 2009 Jun;33(6):402.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review the literature on the relationships between neighborhoods and child maltreatment and identify future directions for research in this area.

METHOD:

A search of electronic databases and a survey of experts yielded a list of 25 studies on the influence of geographically defined neighborhoods on child maltreatment. These studies were then critically reviewed by an interdisciplinary research team.

RESULTS:

Numerous studies demonstrate that child maltreatment cases are concentrated in disadvantaged areas. A number of socio-economic characteristics of neighborhoods have been shown to correlate with child maltreatment rates as measured by official reports to child protective service agencies. Only a few studies examine direct measures of parenting behaviors associated with maltreatment, and these show a weaker relationship with neighborhood disadvantage. Moreover, the processes that link neighborhood conditions to either maltreatment reports or parenting behaviors are not yet confirmed by the research literature. Selection bias, neighborhood definitions and spatial influences are largely uncontrolled in the existing research.

CONCLUSIONS:

We propose a framework for pursuing further study of neighborhoods and child maltreatment that addresses the gaps in the current literature. Neighborhood-based strategies to prevent and reduce child maltreatment will be enhanced by research that provides a better understanding of how neighborhood conditions act as stressors or supports for families at risk of child maltreatment.

PMID:
18023868
DOI:
10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.03.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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