Neighborhoods and child abuse: Multiple informant perspectives

Publication Year


Journal Article

Using data from the nationally representative longitudinal Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Study, the current study sought to examine associations between neighborhood disorder and physical characteristics of the neighborhood at child age three with the likelihood of experiencing physical and psychological abuse and neglect at age five.

Negative binomial regression and zero inflated negative binomial regression models were used to estimate the associations.

Resident perceptions of neighborhood disorder and outside observation of neighborhood physical characteristics were both found to be independently related to the likelihood of physical assault. Resident perceptions were related to psychological aggression. A more positive perception of the neighborhood environment for children (lack of neighborhood disorder) and physical characteristics of the neighborhood were protective against maltreatment. These relationships were not significant for neglect.

Neighborhood environment is a crucial contributor to maltreatment risk. Findings from the present study showed that multiple perceptions of neighborhood quality were associated with lower risk for child physical assault and psychological aggression. Mothers' perceptions of a more positive neighborhood environment were associated with significantly lower physical assault and psychological aggression scores.

Child Abuse & Neglect