Physical abuse in U.S. children: Risk factors and deficiencies in referrals to support services

Suzanne R. Dakil, Matthew Cox, Hua Lin, Glenn Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


More than 600,000 U.S. children are reported for physical abuse annually. Risk factors are proposed in the literature, but a comprehensive, national assessment of risk factors and support services has not been conducted. An analysis of national data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Dataset revealed that domestic violence, parental alcohol and drug use, prior child abuse and neglect, public assistance receipt, and child behavior problems are associated with higher odds of substantiated physical abuse reports, compared to unsubstantiated reports. Most families, however, failed to receive relevant support services for any of these risk factors. Screening by physicians, child protection workers, and others for these risk factors could help identify children at increased risk for physical abuse and inform prevention efforts and support-service provision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-569
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Child abuse
  • Primary health care
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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