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Child Abuse Negl. 1995 Sep;19(9):1083-93.

Visible but unreported: a case for the "not serious enough" cases of child maltreatment.

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Facultad de PsicologĂ­a, Universidad de Valencia, Spain.


This study examined the psychosocial characteristics of cases of child maltreatment labelled as "not serious enough." The sample consisted of cases of suspected physical abuse (N = 48), neglect (N = 13), and psychological maltreatment (N = 8) identified by teachers, and a nonabused comparison group (N = 283). Characteristics of children and their parents were evaluated at three ecological levels: individual, family, and social. Results indicated a poor personal and social adjustment of the children in the maltreatment groups, and suggest that the definition of cases of maltreatment as not serious enough does not represent the psychological reality of these children. Discriminant analysis indicated that the most important variables for discriminating between all maltreatment groups and the nonabuse group were parents and children's perceptions of parental behavior, children's behavioral problems and personal adjustment, parents integration and satisfaction in the community, and the importance and direction of personal growth emphasized in the family. The importance of other variables such as socioeconomic status, stress, psychological symptoms or number of children appeared to be a function of the different types of child maltreatment. The importance of prevention and intervention efforts before the maltreatment reaches a serious stage is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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