Personal and couple level risk factors: maternal vs paternal physical child abuse risk

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Meagan C. Tucker (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christina Rodriguez

Abstract: Previous maltreatment literature examining child physical abuse potential relied heavily upon maternal only samples, limiting our understanding of paternal risk factors. Moreover, the extent to which relationship and individual factors interact to impact abuse risk is not well known. The current study examined whether couple level functioning (i.e., relationship quality and coparenting) moderated the relation between stress and measures of physical abuse risk for parents (i.e., spillover) and their partners (i.e., crossover). Questionnaires assessing parental subjective appraisal of stress, relationship quality, perceptions of a parenting team, and abuse risk were administered to 81 parents from the community. As expected, for both parents, higher stress strongly predicted elevated abuse potential (BCAPI) and more reactive parenting discipline styles (PS) and, for fathers only, negative parenting beliefs (AAPI), and more physically aggressive discipline strategies (CTSPC). More functional couple relationships (e.g., more satisfying and supportive coparenting) directly predicted elevated parental abuse potential. Maternal AAPI and CTSPC scores were predicted by demographic factors, while a novel analog measure of parental response to noncompliance (ReACCT) was not predicted by any factors considered in the present study. Overall, the findings partially supported the hypotheses and indicated that the extent to which strong and supportive relationships buffer stress in the prediction of abuse risk is inconsistent, if not limited. Future work discussed the need for disentangling distress from abuse risk measures and to identify the potential contribution of couple functioning, apart from reduced distress.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Child Physical Abuse Risk, Coparenting, Perceived Stress, Relationship Satisfaction, Spillover Effect
Child abuse $x Research
Child abuse $x Prevention
Risk assessment
Parent and child
Families $x Psychological aspects

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