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ERIC Number: EJ797437
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Exploration and Validation of Clusters of Physically Abused Children
Ward, Caryn Sabourin; Haskett, Mary E.
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v32 n5 p577-588 May 2008
Objective: Cluster analysis was used to enhance understanding of heterogeneity in social adjustment of physically abused children. Method: Ninety-eight physically abused children (ages 5-10) were clustered on the basis of social adjustment, as measured by observed behavior with peers on the school playground and by teacher reports of social behavior. Seventy-seven matched nonabused children served as a comparison sample. Clusters were validated on the basis of observed parental sensitivity, parents' self-reported disciplinary tactics, and children's social information processing operations (i.e., generation of solutions to peer relationship problems and attributions of peer intentions in social situations). Results: Three subgroups of physically abused children emerged from the cluster analysis; clusters were labeled Socially Well Adjusted, Hanging in There, and Social Difficulties. Examination of cluster differences on risk and protective factors provided substantial evidence in support of the external validity of the three-cluster solution. Specifically, clusters differed significantly in attributions of peer intent and in parenting (i.e., sensitivity and harshness of parenting). Clusters also differed in the ways in which they were similar to, or different from, the comparison group of nonabused children. Conclusions: Results supported the contention that there were clinically relevant subgroups of physically abused children with potentially unique treatment needs. Findings also pointed to the relevance of social information processing operations and parenting context in understanding diversity among physically abused children. Practice implications: Pending replication, findings provide support for the importance of considering unique treatment of needs among physically abused children. A singular approach to intervention is unlikely to be effective for these children. For example, some physically abused children might need a more intensive focus on developmentof prosocial skills in relationships with peers while the prosocial skills of other abused children will be developmentally appropriate. In contrast, most physically abused children might benefit from training in social problem-solving skills. Findings also point to the importance of promoting positive parenting practices in addition to reducing harsh discipline of physically abusive parents. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A