Legal implications and documentation of child maltreatment: Using multiple informants to assess child maltreatment: Concordance between case file and youth self-report

Erin P. Hambrick, Angela M. Tunno, Joy Gabrielli, Yo Jackson, Cassidy Belz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


To understand the psychosocial implications of child maltreatment, methods used to document prevalence must be clear. Yet, rates of maltreatment found in child self-report are generally inconsistent with data found in case files from state social service agencies. Although it is known that self-reports and case file reports of abuse disagree on occurrence of specific events, it is unclear if reporters agree when overall categories of abuse are considered. This study investigated differences between case file and youth report of abuse by examining four types of abuse - physical, sexual, neglect, and psychological - in a within-subjects design using a sample of 97 youth in foster care aged 8 to 22. Case files were coded for the presence of any indication of each type of abuse. Self-report of abuse was also assessed for any indication of each type of abuse. Results indicated that, overall, youth reported more physical and psychological abuse, and younger youth reported more sexual abuse than documented in their file. Implications for research and service provision for maltreated youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-771
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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