Economic predictors of child maltreatment in an Australian population-based birth cohort

Doidge, James C, Higgins, Daryl J, Delfabbro, Paul, Edwards, Ben, Vassallo, Suzanne, Toumbourou, John W and Segal, Leonie 2017, Economic predictors of child maltreatment in an Australian population-based birth cohort, Children and youth services review, vol. 72, pp. 14-25, doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.10.012.

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Title Economic predictors of child maltreatment in an Australian population-based birth cohort
Author(s) Doidge, James C
Higgins, Daryl J
Delfabbro, Paul
Edwards, Ben
Vassallo, Suzanne
Toumbourou, John WORCID iD for Toumbourou, John W
Segal, Leonie
Journal name Children and youth services review
Volume number 72
Start page 14
End page 25
Total pages 12
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2017-01
ISSN 0190-7409
Keyword(s) Child maltreatment
Child abuse and neglect
Socioeconomic disadvantage
Social determinants
Risk factors
Social Sciences
Family Studies
Social Work
Longtitudinal analysis
Summary A correlation between socioeconomic disadvantage and child maltreatment has long been observed, but the drivers of this association are poorly understood. We sought to estimate the effects of economic factors on risk of child maltreatment after adjusting for other known influences using the Australian Temperament Project, a population-based birth cohort of 2443 individuals and their parents. We used logistic regression to estimate associations of childhood economic factors (parental education, occupation, and unemployment; type of housing; and retrospective perception of poverty) with retrospective reports of perceived child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and witnessing of domestic violence), controlling for demographic factors, parental mental health and substance use, and child health. We then used these estimates to approximate the proportions of child maltreatment—population attributable fractions—that are theoretically preventable by addressing childhood economic disadvantage. Economic factors were associated with all types of child maltreatment. For the most part, these associations diminished only partially when controlling for noneconomic confounders, supporting hypotheses of causal relationships. Jointly, economic factors were significant predictors of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and witnessing of domestic violence but not of emotional abuse or neglect. Retrospective perceptions of childhood poverty were, in particular, strongly associated with most forms of child maltreatment but not with sexual abuse after accounting for other economic factors. We estimated that 27% of all child maltreatment was jointly attributable to economic factors. These findings suggest that strategies that reduce economic disadvantage are likely to hold significant potential to reduce the prevalence of child maltreatment.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.10.012
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
111716 Preventive Medicine
1607 Social Work
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Elsevier Ltd
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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