Using A Structural Equation Model To Examine Child Maltreatment Potential Across Ecological Systems In A Population Of Families In Poverty




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Social Work


This study was a secondary analysis designed to examine the ecological system indicators of child maltreatment potential. A total of 263 families living within 200% of the poverty level were included in the sample. Results of the study revealed the exosystem indicator of social support had the greatest impact on child maltreatment while maltreatment of the parent as a child (history of maltreatment), an ontogenic system indicator, was the second highest predictor. Additionally, these two indicators were highly correlated within the structural model. The microsystem indicator of parental educational attainment and the macrosystem indicator of belief in corporal punishment had less of an impact on child maltreatment potential, although their relationship was significant. Furthermore, of the indicators that supported the child maltreatment potential factor, distress had the highest loading, while rigidity appeared to have no substantial contribution within the model and was deleted. The final model, using AMOS statistical software, suggests and adequate fit [chi-square = 50l.98 (p = .031); CFI = .957; PGFI = .596; RMSEA = .044; PCLEOSE = .643]. Final R² was equal to .48.