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Predicting Child Maltreatment Among Puerto Rican Children From Migrant and Non-Migrant Families

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 33 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2009 Pages: 382-392
Eve M. Sledjeski; Lisa C. Dierker; Hector R. Bird; Glorisa Canino
Date Published
June 2009
11 pages
This study examined the prevalence of child maltreatment and its relationship to sociodemographic/cultural factors in Puerto Rican families.
While prevalence rates of maltreatment (physical abuse, 10 percent; sexual abuse, 1 percent; neglect, 10 percent; and multi-type, 6 percent) did not differ between the two sites at baseline assessment, site differences emerged over time. Rates of physical abuse at follow-up were significantly higher in the Bronx participants compared to those in Puerto Rico. Further, for families living in the Bronx, living in poverty predicted chronic maltreatment, whereas living above the poverty line predicted new cases of maltreatment at follow-up. For families living in Puerto Rico, those who experienced physical abuse or multi-type maltreatment at baseline were more likely to report chronic maltreatment at follow-up regardless of poverty level. Findings suggest that while rates of child maltreatment are similar in both migrant and non-migrant Puerto Rican families and when compared to general prevalence rates in the United States, predictors of maltreatment may differ (such as poverty). Since predictors of maltreatment may vary across population subgroups, examining maltreatment among homogenous samples may lead to more targeted interventions that are more effective in reducing child maltreatment at both the family and community levels. Given the strong identification with Puerto Rican culture in the Bronx sample, it is imperative that prevention/intervention efforts concerning child maltreatment be culturally competent (collaboration with extended family, overcoming language barriers) in the targeting and delivery services. Data were collected from 631 families from the South Bronx, New York City; and 859 families from San Juan and Caguas, Puerto Rico. Tables, references, and appendix