Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Child Abuse Negl. 1991;15(4):389-401.

Diagnosed intellectual and emotional impairment among parents who seriously mistreat their children: prevalence, type, and outcome in a court sample.

Author information

  • 1Massachusetts General Hospital, Child Psychiatry Service, Boston 02114.


A substantial body of research evidence over the past three decades has indicated that intellectual and emotional impairment among parents is a factor contributing to child abuse and neglect. This study examined the court records of 206 seriously abused or neglected children and their families in a large urban area and found that in over half the records a parent had been diagnosed as having an emotional disorder and/or low IQ, with a majority of these diagnoses indicating significant impairment. Although type of impairment (emotional, low IQ, and a subsample of substance abusers) did not predict type of mistreatment, higher predicted risk for continued mistreatment, or greater likelihood of permanent removal of the child by the court, low IQ parents revealed significantly less prior court involvement and greater acceptance of court-ordered services. Parents diagnosed with serious emotional disorders were significantly more likely than less disturbed parents to have their children permanently removed despite findings of no significant differences in risk or compliance factors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center