Family functioning and social isolation as moderators between stress and child abuse potential

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 literature has implicated stress as a significant contributor to child physical maltreatment risk. Studied to a lesser extent, family dysfunction and inadequate social support have also been associated with physical child abuse potential. To date, little empirical support clarifies how such identified risk variables converge to influence physical abuse risk. The current study sought to explore whether the relation between stress and physical abuse risk was moderated by family functioning and social isolation. Questionnaires assessing parental subjective appraisal of stress, family functioning, adequacy of social support, and abuse risk (as measured by the CAPI Abuse Scale and AAPI-2 Total) were administered to 92 mother-child dyads from the community. Stress was hypothesized to strongly predict abuse risk. Further, mothers reporting stress and either family dysfunction or social isolation were expected to evidence greater abuse risk. As expected, stress contributed to the prediction of abuse risk, as measured by both the CAPI and AAPI Total scores. In terms of potential moderators, the current findings indicated that social support moderated the relation between stress and CAPI Abuse Scale scores, but family functioning did not (the interaction term trended toward significance). For AAPI Total scores, neither family functioning nor social isolation was a significant moderator. Overall, these findings validate stress and social isolation as important independent predictors of abuse risk.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Child maltreatment, Family supports, Parenting, Physical abuse, Social supports
Child Abuse Potential Inventory
Child abuse $x Prevention
Child abuse $x Psychological aspects
Social isolation $x Psychological aspects
Stress (Psychology)

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