Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
Children are among the most vulnerable people in our population, especially those with disabilities, emotional and behavioral problems (EBP), and those who experience maltreatment. This dissertation increases our understanding of the complex relationships between disability, internalizing symptoms (IS), externalizing symptoms (ES), and maltreatment across developmental stages. Previous literature suggests that children with disabilities (CWD) are at a heightened risk for maltreatment (Spencer, Devereux, Wallace, Sundrum, Shenoy, Bacchus, and Logan 2005 ; Sullivan and Knutson 2000). Yet, recently the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4) has challenged the notion that CWD are at increased risk, showing that for most types of maltreatment CWD are actually at lower risk. Research also suggests that the relationship between disability and maltreatment is far too complex to be understood using a cross-sectional design.
Using the Longitudinal Studies Consortium on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) data following children from birth through age 14, I use longitudinal growth modeling to predict maltreatment risk trajectories across childhood to determine how disability, internalizing symptoms (IS), and externalizing symptoms (ES) are related to risk for maltreatment. Findings indicate the importance of examining specific types of disabilities, internalizing symptoms (IS), externalizing symptoms (ES) and maltreatments separately and over time. Results suggest that children with learning disabilities are at increased risk for neglect across all of childhood to age 14 relative to their peers without learning disabilities. Children with a combination of both learning and intellectual disabilities are at increased risk for neglect and physical abuse at early ages but their risk dissipates over time. In addition, children with higher levels of internalizing symptoms are at lower risk of psychological maltreatment while children with high levels of externalizing symptoms are at high risk of psychological and physical abuse. Children with learning and intellectual disabilities are more likely to be exposed to multiple types of maltreatments at very young ages, while children with high levels of externalizing symptoms are at high risk of experiencing multiple types of maltreatment as they get older.
Vanderminden, Jennifer A., "A longitudinal analysis of the effect of disability type and emotional/behavior problems on different forms of maltreatment across childhood" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations. 711.