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Child Dev. 1995 Oct;66(5):1262-76.

Community level factors and child maltreatment rates.

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Case Western Reserve University, USA.


Using census and administrative agency data for 177 urban census tracts, variation in rates of officially reported child maltreatment is found to be related to structural determinants of community social organization: economic and family resources, residential instability, household and age structure, and geographic proximity of neighborhoods to concentrated poverty. Furthermore, child maltreatment rates are found to be intercorrelated with other indicators of the breakdown of community social control and organization. These other indicators are similarly affected by the structural dimensions of neighborhood context. Children who live in neighborhoods that are characterized by poverty, excessive numbers of children per adult resident, populations turnover, and the concentration of female-headed families are at highest risk of maltreatment. This analysis suggests that child maltreatment is but one manifestation of community social organization and that its occurrence is related to some of the same underlying macro-social conditions that foster other urban problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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