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Prediction of Child Maltreatment in Greek Families

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 21 Issue: 8 Dated: August 1997 Pages: 721-735
Helen Agathonos-Georgopoulou; Kevin D. Browne
Date Published
August 1997
15 pages
A study that used a case control design with individual matching compared 197 physically abused and neglected children with 163 control children and their families to determine the characteristics of physically maltreating families in the Attica region of Greece and to produce a checklist for use in screening.
The abused and neglected children and their families had been referred to a multidisciplinary team. The control children and families attended a community health centers. Abusing families differed from controls on variables related to child, parental, and family characteristics. Statistical analysis produced a checklist of 15 predictors. Their classification into high, medium, and low predictors revealed that the most prominent characteristics were those associated with parents’ own adverse life experiences, mental health problems, marital problems, and parental neglect of the child’s hygiene. The predictive ability of the checklist produced a sensitivity of 92 percent and a specificity of 96 percent (logistic regression) and a sensitivity of 86.8 percent and a specificity of 96.3 percent (discriminant function). Findings indicated that the use of a checklist of risk factors can make feasible the secondary prevention of child abuse in Greece. Clinical assessment based on qualitative aspects of mother-infant interaction should accompany such screening. The cultural relevance of this approach and ethical issues should also receive attention. Tables, figures, and 57 references (Author abstract modified)