Child Abuse & Neglect
The purpose of this study is to identify factors that predict recidivism among families in which the father is the perpetrator of physical abuse and to compare these factors to the factors that investigators believe are related to higher risk. A case-comparison design was used to understand risk among 137 predominantly Caucasian families in which a father had injured a child. The multivariate analysis showed that families in which the father was unemployed (greater time at risk), had younger children, was not the biological father of all of the children, did not take responsibility for his behavior, seriously injured a child, and maltreated a child in the past were more likely to re-abuse. These factors, along with whether the mother had a criminal history, correctly predicted recurrence for 83% of the families. The investigators correctly predicted recurrence for 70% of the families. The investigators placed too much emphasis on some variables that were not related to recurrence, such as the mother's mental health and whether she tried to protect her children. These results may be useful in adapting assessment systems that do not take into consideration the gender of the perpetrator. (Author abstract, modified) 32 references.
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