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Predictors of Child Abuse Potential in At-Risk Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 14 Issue: 4 Dated: December 1999 Pages: 417-436
Mary K. Todd; Ellis L. Gesten
Date Published
20 pages
This study examines characteristics prevalent in known child abusers and in child victims of abuse as predictors of abuse potential in adolescents.
The study examined internalizing, externalizing, sociopathy, delinquency and nonrational conflict-solving tactics as predictors of abuse potential in adolescents. The Child Abuse Potential Inventory was administered to male (n = 71) and female (n = 63) teenagers attending alternative educational sites because of behavioral problems or pregnancy. Regression analyses found unique variance in abuse potential contributed by youth (16 percent) and teacher (6 percent) reports of internalizing behavior and youth reports of sociopathy (4 percent) and delinquency (4 percent) for a total of 33 percent of the variance after controlling for age, sex, and pregnancy status. Number of elevated predictors in each student was also related to increased abuse potential. Pregnancy status and socioeconomic status were not independently associated with abuse potential. The study suggests conduct disorder as a probable precursor to future abusive behavior. Tables, references


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