Families are impacted by a variety of risk and protective factors for maltreatment at multiple levels of the social ecology. Individual- and neighborhood-level poverty has consistently been shown to be associated with higher risk for child abuse and neglect. The current study sought to understand the ways in which individual- and neighborhood-level risk and protective factors affect physical child abuse and child neglect and whether these factors differed for families based on their individual poverty status. Specifically, we used a three-level hierarchical linear model (families nested within census tracts and nested within cities) to estimate the relationships between physical child abuse and child neglect and neighborhood structural factors, neighborhood processes, and individual characteristics. We compared these relationships between lower and higher income families in a sample of approximately 3,000 families from 50 cities in the State of California. We found that neighborhood-level disadvantage was especially detrimental for families in poverty and that neighborhood-level protective processes (social) were not associated with physical child abuse and child neglect for impoverished families, but that they had a protective effect for higher income families.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology