Treating the Child Abuser

  • Jeffrey A. Kelly


Scientific, empirically based approaches to the treatment of any problem depend upon the adequacy of theoretical models concerning the cause of the problem. As discussed in other chapters, for many years there was a paucity of sound empirical data that could be used either to account for the presence of child abusive patterns or to guide the development of effective interventions for child abusers. Prior to the mid-1970s, most models of child abuse were unifactorial in nature and attempted to predict the occurrence of child maltreatment in families from single etiological causes, such as parent psychopathology or sociological disadvantage (see reviews by Belsky, 1980; Burgess, 1979; Parke & Collmer, 1975). Treatment interventions based on such models also tended to be unifactorial, usually emphasizing treatment of a parent’s postulated underlying psychiatric disorder or the alleviation of socioeconomic distress. However, most of these therapeutic interventions were unevaluated or investigated only with uncontrolled and anecdotal outcome reports.


Child Abuse Child Behavior Family Therapy Family Violence Parent Training 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey A. Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of PsychologyUniversity of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA

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