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Rates of Neglect in a National Sample: Child and Family Characteristics and Psychological Impact

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 88 Dated: February 2019 Pages: 256-265
Date Published
February 2019
10 pages
Since childhood neglect is an understudied form of childhood maltreatment, despite being the most commonly reported to authorities, the current study reports national estimates of neglect subtypes, demographic variations in exposure to neglect subtypes, and the psychological impact.

Pooled data from two representative U.S. samples from the National Surveys of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), conducted in 2011 and 2014, represent the experiences of children and youth ages 1 month to 17 years (N=8,503). More than 1 in 17 U.S. children (6.07 percent) experienced some form of neglect in the past year, and more than 1 in 7 (15.14 percent) experienced neglect at some point in their lives. Supervisory neglect, due to parental incapacitation or parental absence, was most common. Families with two biological parents had lower rates (4.29 percent in the past year) than other household configurations (range from 7.95 percent to 14.10 percent; p<.05). All types of neglect were associated with increased trauma symptoms and suicidal ideation (for 10-17 year olds), and several were associated with increased risk of underage alcohol and illicit drug use. The study advises that more attention needs to be paid to the impact of supervisory neglect. The results show the importance of prevention strategies that provide the supports necessary to build safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments that help children thrive. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: February 1, 2019