Comparing Physically Abusive, Neglectful, and Non-Maltreating Parents During Interactions with their Children: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.
Wilson, Steven R. Rack, Jessica J. Shi, Xiaowei. Norris, Alda M.
Published: September 2008
Child Abuse and Neglect : The International Journal.
Vol. 32, No. 9 , p. 897-911
Customer Service Department 6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887-4800
Tel: +1 (877) 839-7126
Fax: +1 (407) 363-1354
Objective: To clarify the nature and extent of differences in the ways that physically abusive, neglectful, and non-maltreating parents communicate during interactions with their children.Method: A meta-analysis was conducted of 33 observational studies comparing parent-child interactions in families where parents have a documented history of physical abuse or neglect vs. where parents have no history of child maltreatment. Parental behaviors were grouped into three clusters (positivity, aversiveness, and involvement) for comparison across studies.Results: When comparing maltreating (physically abusive or neglectful) vs. non-maltreating parents, mean weighted effect sizes for the three behavioral clusters range from d = .46 to .62. Physically abusive parents are distinguished from non-maltreating parents more so than neglectful parents in terms of aversive behavior, whereas the reverse is true for involvement. Publication date, parent and child age, and task structure moderate the magnitude, though not direction, of differences.Conclusion: Parents with a documented history of child physical abuse or child neglect also are distinguished from non-maltreating parents by the levels of aversiveness, positivity, and involvement they display during interactions that constitute the parent-child relationship.Practice implications: Researchers and practitioners need to carefully consider sample size, length and setting of observation, and interaction tasks when using observational methods. (Author abstract)
nonabusive parents; abusive parents; communication; parent child relationships