Risk factors for child neglect

Julie A. Schumacher, Amy M Smith Slep, Richard E. Heyman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Child neglect is the most prevalent form of child maltreatment in the US, yet it has received comparatively little research attention. This is no doubt in part due to difficulty defining and operationalizing the construct of neglect. Despite these challenges, a small body of literature investigating risk factors for child neglect has accumulated. This paper reviews this literature, providing effect sizes when possible. Parental demographic, psychological, and behavioral characteristics as well as child, family, and neighborhood factors are reviewed. Although few factors have been examined in more than one study, when taken together, the findings suggest that parental behavioral and psychological characteristics may have the largest relations to neglect, and that limited socioeconomic resources are the most consistently documented risk factor for neglect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-254
Number of pages24
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Child maltreatment
  • Child neglect
  • Family
  • Parental behavioral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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