Housing insecurity, maternal stress, and child maltreatment: An application of the family stress model

Emily J. Warren, Sarah A. Font

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

While it is well documented that families involved in Child Protective Services (CPS) are likely to experience housing insecurity, the mechanisms that may account for the association between housing insecurity and child maltreatment remain unclear. We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study (FFCW) to examine associations between housing insecurity and child maltreatment risk. We assess three explanations for associations between housing insecurity and child abuse and neglect risk: a spurious association that is fully explained by economic factors, a direct association, and an indirect association that is mediated by maternal stress. Our results suggest that housing insecurity is directly associated with neglect risk and influences abuse and neglect risk through maternal stress. Our findings highlight the need for a more equitable housing assistance program that serves more low-income families that are at risk of maltreatment, as well as increased attention to housing insecurity by child welfare agencies as a point of intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-39
Number of pages31
JournalSocial Service Review
Volume89
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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