University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Changes in Child Maltreatment Rates Over Time: Correspondence with Substance Use Rates and Changes in Socioeconomic Status

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

Child maltreatment (abuse and neglect) is a social problem across the US. More information about the potential causes of child abuse is therefore needed. This study takes a new approach to the problem through secondary analysis of state-level data. Based on prior research showing the increased risk of child maltreatment in the context of parent substance use or poverty (Cancian, Slack, & Yang, 2010; Bushman & Cooper, 1990), we predicted changes in socioeconomic status (SES) and drug and alcohol use rates would influence child maltreatment. Data stemmed from 50 states and Washington, DC (N = 51), and were public data provided by the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the US Census. Overall victimization rates, age-specific victimization rates, and fatality rates were examined. Substance use rates for alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs were examined. Poverty rate, percent high school completion, and unemployment rate were combined to provide a single measure of SES. We focused on changes from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002, and from 2009/2010 to 2011/2012. From 1999 to 2002, most measures of child victimization increased over time (p < .05). Relations between substance use and child maltreatment depended on SES. For example, increases in marijuana use predicted increases in child fatality rates, but only for states that also saw decreases in SES. From 2009 to 2012, rates of victimization only for 0-3 year olds increased, and fewer relations between substance use, SES, and child maltreatment were observed.

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Changes in Child Maltreatment Rates Over Time: Correspondence with Substance Use Rates and Changes in Socioeconomic Status

Child maltreatment (abuse and neglect) is a social problem across the US. More information about the potential causes of child abuse is therefore needed. This study takes a new approach to the problem through secondary analysis of state-level data. Based on prior research showing the increased risk of child maltreatment in the context of parent substance use or poverty (Cancian, Slack, & Yang, 2010; Bushman & Cooper, 1990), we predicted changes in socioeconomic status (SES) and drug and alcohol use rates would influence child maltreatment. Data stemmed from 50 states and Washington, DC (N = 51), and were public data provided by the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the US Census. Overall victimization rates, age-specific victimization rates, and fatality rates were examined. Substance use rates for alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs were examined. Poverty rate, percent high school completion, and unemployment rate were combined to provide a single measure of SES. We focused on changes from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002, and from 2009/2010 to 2011/2012. From 1999 to 2002, most measures of child victimization increased over time (p < .05). Relations between substance use and child maltreatment depended on SES. For example, increases in marijuana use predicted increases in child fatality rates, but only for states that also saw decreases in SES. From 2009 to 2012, rates of victimization only for 0-3 year olds increased, and fewer relations between substance use, SES, and child maltreatment were observed.