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Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2014;61(6):263-74.

[The influence of caregivers' anxiety and the home environment on child abuse. A study of children attending child-care centers].

[Article in Japanese]

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University of Tsukuba, Comprehensive Human Sciences.



The prevalence of child abuse is increasing in Japan. Therefore, we need appropriate and practical approaches for implementing feasible prevention, early detection, and support services for abused children. The purpose of this study was to examine child-rearing anxieties and the home environment as factors affecting caregivers of suspected abused children who attend child-care centers .


First, we applied the millennium edition of the Japan Child and Family Research Institute (JCFRI) Child Rearing Support Questionnaire, and the Index of Child Care Environment (ICCE), for 1,801 caregivers whose children were enrolled in child-care centers based in City A. The millennium edition of the JCFRI Child Rearing Support Questionnaire measures difficulties in childcare for caregivers in terms of feelings, anxiety, and tendencies toward depression. The ICCE measures the quality and frequency of involvement of caregivers with their children and the child-care environment. Next, we interviewed the directors and child-care professionals in the centers to collect information on child abuse. The children were divided into two groups: abused and non-abused. The "abused group" consisted of the children whom the directors and professionals of the child-care centers suspected of being "possibly abused" and so had been placed under the protection of the center; furthermore, the center exchanged information with the City A Municipality "City A municipal government" about these children. We conducted Fisher's exact test to examine the relationship between the "abused group" and the "non-abused group," in relation to child-rearing anxiety and the children's home environments. Questionnaire scores from the two groups were assessed. We calculated odds ratios to examine the significant factors related to child abuse. Our dependent variable was child abuse, our main independent variables were items related to child-care difficulties and the child-care environment, and the moderating variables were age and gender. We used multiple logistic regression to assess the actual child abuse predictors.


The odds ratios obtained by comparing the "abused group" with the "non-abused group" showed that the caregivers of children in the "abused group" had a 5.5-fold greater odds of saying, "I am riddled with uneasiness and awful feelings," and a 4.6-fold greater odds of saying, "I do not have anyone to look after my child except a child-care center." The moderating variables (age and gender) were not significant.


Child-care professionals have a policy for ensuring there is concrete and usable support for caregivers, depending on the relationship between the abused child and the difficulties present in the child's environment. We suggest that awareness of these relationships can be promoted as an aid for early child abuse detection, support, and prevention.

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