The role of fathers in risk for physical child abuse and neglect: Possible pathways and unanswered questions

Neil B. Guterman, Yookyong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite overrepresentation of fathers as perpetrators in cases of severe physical child abuse and neglect, the role they play in shaping risk for physical child abuse and neglect is not yet well understood. This article reviews the possible father pathways that may contribute to physical child abuse and neglect risk and their existing empirical support. The present empirical base implicates a set of sociodemographic factors in physical maltreatment risk, including fathers' absence, age, employment status, and income they provide to the family. As well, paternal psychosocial factors implicated in physical child maltreatment risk include fathers' abuse of substances, their own childhood experiences of maltreatment, the nature of fathers' relationships with mothers, and the direct care they provide to the child. However, the empirical base presently suffers from significant methodological limitations, preventing more definitive identification of risk factors or causal processes. Given this, the present article offers questions and recommendations for future research and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

Keywords

  • Child neglect
  • Fathers
  • Physical child abuse
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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