Teachers’ Intention to Report Child Maltreatment: Testing Theoretically Derived Predictions
Child maltreatment (CM) is a serious societal problem that needs to be reported in order to be dealt with. Teachers, who are in a key position to identify and report CM, often do not report it and this instigated much research on teachers’ intention to report CM. However, most of this research examined potentially related variables without using any particular theory, while the few theoretically informed studies mostly used the theory of planned behavior (TPB), an extension of the theory of reasoned action (TRA).
In the present study, both TRA and TPB were used to predict teachers’ intention to report CM.
Teachers’ (N = 117) attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control and intention to report CM were assessed with the Child Abuse Report Intention Scale (CARIS) in a 4 (abuse type: physical vs. sexual vs. emotional vs. neglect) × 2 (severity level: low vs. high) within subjects design.
TRA and TPB could both predict teachers’ intention to report CM. However, TRA was better than TPB in predicting report intention for low severity cases, whereas TPB was better for high severity cases.
TRA and TPB are both useful theories within the context of reporting CM. For the reporting of high (but not low) severity CM it is crucial to understand the potential reporter’s relevant control beliefs. Theoretically driven research on teachers’ intentions to report CM promises an overall better handling of this serious societal problem.
KeywordsChild maltreatment Child abuse and neglect Teachers Theory of reasoned action Theory of planned behavior
We thank Jui-Ying Feng for providing us with the CARIS as well as with relevant information and Wolfgang Stroebe for helpful comments on an earlier draft.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The treatment of our study’s human participants complies with APA ethical standards and with the University of Thessaly Code of Conduct.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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