National Study of the Incidence and Severity of Child Abuse and Neglect: System of Operational Definitions.
Westat, Inc., Rockville, MD.
Published: Revised March 1978
Publication Information: Westat, Inc., Rockville, MD
Available from: Child Welfare Information Gateway
Administration on Children, Youth, and Families Children's Bureau, 3rd Floor 330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Tel: 800.394.3366 703.385.7565
Sponsoring Organization: National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (DHHS), Washington, DC.
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Operational definitions, 1 of 3 products of Phase I (the design and pretest phase) of the National Study of the Incidence and Severity of Child Abuse and Neglect, were developed. The process of developing operational definitions is outlined and includes the evolution of the definitions, their presentation, the child abuse and neglect construct, rationale for the approach, requirements of the operational definitions, study methodology and its relationship to the definitions, limitations on the use of the definitions beyond the incidence study, what the study measures, and the definitions in relation to the evaluation of the pretest and recommendations for the national study. The child abuse and neglect construct includes the occurrence (or lack thereof) of a behavior or set of behaviors by an individual responsible for the child's care; and the results of the behaviors having a deleterious effect on the child's health or well-being. General definitions are child maltreatment, abused child, neglected child, harm, child, and caretaker. Qualifications in the general definitions of abuse and neglect are outlined. Maltreatment categories (physical abuse, sexual abuse, inadequate supervision-guardianship, inadequate food-clothing-shelter, inadequate-delayed health care, educational neglect, emotional abuse-neglect), and the associated harm requirements for counting are summarized. In-scope forms of maltreatment are provided for each category. Guidelines for classifying various forms of alleged abusive-negligent caretaker behavior and for determining whether or not the alleged maltreatmet is countable according to the study definitions are provided. Key elements are the nature and severity of the harm to the child that must be present during the study period for the situation to be countable. 17 references.
definitions; research methodology; child abuse research; incidence; national surveys