Risk factors for child physical abuse



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Risk factors for child physical abuse

This study investigates the risk and protective factors for child physical abuse (CPA) and Parent-to-child physical aggression (PCPA).Miler-Perrin & Perrin (1999) divided child maltreatment into six different categories – emotional neglect, physical neglect, educational neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. The hypothesis was that the risk and protective factors for child physical abuse (CPA) differ by the severity of abuse.


Participants included 2006 general population pupils (age range 10-18 years, city:Tallinn) who completed self-report questionnaire designed to assess child physical abuse. Participants were then divided into CPA/PCPA (minor-severe) and non-CPA/non PCPA groups. Questionnaire was designed in co-operation with Tallinn Child Support Center and Tallinn pedagogical University Faculty of Social Science Department of Social Work.
795 children have been identified as having been physically abused. 138 children were victims of severe PCPA (i.e., 7, 1 per cent of general population and 17,4 per cent of CPA children). Results of this study supported the hypothesis that the risk and protective factors for child physical abuse (CPA) differ by the severity of abuse (minor PSPA/severe PCPA).
The study supports the findings of other that socio-economic status, family stress, intergenerational cycle of physical abuse and social support are of prime importance in an understanding of child physical abuse. The study suggest that psychodynamic models are inadequate to explain child maltreatment and wider models incorporating other ecological domains are needed. Further research should concentrate on perpetrator risk factors (e.g., personal history, personality, adjustment, cognitive, affective, intelligence, social support and behavioral factors).

Helena Pukk


Tallinn Pedagogical University,

Faculty of Social Science



Department of Social Work

Bachelor`s thesis, 2002


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