Maltreatment type and behaviors: Does listening matter?

Darcey H. Merritt, Susan M. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents an exploratory assessment of whether children's perceptions of caseworker support (e.g. feeling listened to) moderates the relationship between the type of maltreatment and problematic behaviors. Relying on data collected for the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW I), this research measures how often children felt listened to by their caseworkers and the effect on the relationship between two types of maltreatment (e.g. physical abuse and neglect) and problematic child behaviors. Results indicate that whereas children reported feeling listened to most of the time, there are significant differences in the probabilities of problematic behavior scores between physically abused and neglected children according to how often they felt listened to. With the exception of those children who felt listened to all of the time, physically abused children have a higher probability of problematic behaviors than neglected children. Comparisons between the two maltreatment types indicate a greater impact of listening on physically abused children across the continuum of feeling listened to (e.g. never to all of the time), than for neglected children, except for at the highest level of listening, as results indicate a small, but significant difference indicating neglected children are more positively impacted by listening than physically abused kids. Implications for practice are that children's perceptions of support from caseworkers may influence behavioral outcomes differently according to maltreatment type. Additionally, these findings encourage the inclusion of children's perspectives regarding the relationships they have with caseworkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2062-2071
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Behaviors
  • Caseworker support
  • Child maltreatment
  • Listening
  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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