Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 168–175 | Cite as

Examination of the Extent to which Employment Factors are Associated with Reduced Child Maltreatment Potential and Drug Use

  • Brad Donohue
  • Christopher P. Plant
  • Kimberly A. Barchard
  • David J. Gillis
Original Paper


Job assistance programs are commonly recommended for parents of children who have been victimized by child maltreatment, particularly when illicit drugs are indicated. However, the relationship between employment factors, substance abuse, and risk of child maltreatment has received limited empirical attention. Therefore, the current study examines employment factors in a sample of 72 mothers, who were referred by child protective services for treatment of substance abuse and child neglect. Child maltreatment potential was found to be negatively associated with number of hours employed and self-reported happiness with employment. The association between child abuse potential and personal income of participants approached significance (p = .057), and the results were not influenced by social desirability. Employment satisfaction significantly contributed to the prediction of child maltreatment potential over and above other employment factors and control variables. These findings suggest that when mothers are involved in child protective services their risk of perpetrating child maltreatment may be reduced when they are assisted in gainful employment that is personally satisfying. Happiness with employment was the only employment factor correlated (inversely) with substance use (biological testing, self-report of participants). Future directions are discussed in light of the results, including the importance of considering employment satisfaction when conducting vocational assistance programs in this population.


Employment Child maltreatment Substance abuse Mothers 



This research was supported by a grant awarded to Brad Donohue from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1R01DA20548-01A1).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brad Donohue
    • 1
  • Christopher P. Plant
    • 1
  • Kimberly A. Barchard
    • 1
  • David J. Gillis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA

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