An Exploratory Study of Neglect and Emotional Abuse in Adolescents: Classifications of Caregiver Risk Factors

Cassandra Simmel, Darcey Merritt, Hillary Mi Sung Kim, Soyoun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent research has advanced exploration of developmental stage and age-related distinctions in understanding the perpetration of child maltreatment. Using longitudinal data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being I (NSCAW-I), this exploratory study investigated heterogeneity in caregiver risks in cases of both neglect and emotional abuse of adolescents (N = 511). Using MPlus software, a person-centered data analytic strategy–latent class analysis was performed to identify distinct classes of caregiver risk factors that were associated with the reports of maltreatment among adolescents. Subsequently exploring the distinct characteristics of the classes, we examined the related demographic characteristics, child welfare system variables (e.g., type of placement status; change in placement type between waves), and youth factors such as the presence of clinical range problem behaviors (Child Behavior Checklist). Results demonstrate four distinct classes of caregiver risk factors, with a nearly even split between those who have an absence of risk factors and those who have a whole host of risk determinants. Differences between the classes regarding the duration of time in out-of-home placements between Wave 1 and Wave 3 also emerged significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2372-2386
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Adolescents
  • Child welfare
  • Emotional abuse
  • Latent class analysis
  • Neglect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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