ERIC Number: ED317906
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr-15
Mother's Age and Physical Abuse of Children.
Connelly, Cynthia D.; Straus, Murray A.
Young, poorly educated, single mothers from lower socioeconomic groups are commonly identified as being at high risk of engaging in physical abuse. However, the seemingly obvious relationship between adolescent parenting and child maltreatment is not clearly supported by previous empirical research. This study, based on an ecological framework, reexamined the issue using a nationally representative sample of mothers (N=1,997). All analyses controlled for family income, race, number of minor children in the home, age of abused child, mother's education, and whether mother was a single parent. Physical abuse was measured with the Conflict Tactics Scale. Using mothers' age at time of birth of the abused child, the younger the mother, the greater the rate of child abuse. However, there was not a significant relationship when mother's age was measured as age at time of abuse. Large families and minority children were also found to be at greater risk of abuse. The findings have implications for prevention of physical abuse at both the microsystem and macrosystem level. At the micro level, the findings confirm the importance of making contraceptives and abortion widely available so that motherhood can be postponed and family size can be controlled. At the macro level, the findings suggest that steps to reduce the poverty that is so often associated with minority group status can lower the rate of child abuse. (Author/ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: New Hampshire Univ., Durham. Graduate School.
Authoring Institution: New Hampshire Univ., Durham. Family Research Lab.