The Current Status of Etiological Theories in Intrafamilial Child Maltreatment

  • Sandra T. Azar
  • Tania Y. Povilaitis
  • Allison F. Lauretti
  • Christina L. Pouquette
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)


Child maltreatment is a major social problem affecting over a million children and their families each year (National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1992). Effective treatment development for both perpetrators and victims of this problem rests on the availability of wellarticulated and validated theories of etiology. Such theories allow for empirical documentation of causal factors and ultimately, more precisely targeted interventions. The goal of this chapter is to assess progress in the development of etiological models of intrafamilial child maltreatment. The chapter begins with a historical overview of the forces that operated to slow theory building in early phases of this field and ones that are now more fostering of theory development. We then examine the foundations of current theories about each form of child maltreatment, highlighting the definitions and assumptions that models have adopted and the basic dimensions on which they differ. The chapter ends with a preliminary attempt to integrate current theorizing into a metamodel that would be useful in treatment development.


Child Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Physical Abuse Family Violence Emotional Maltreatment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra T. Azar
    • 1
  • Tania Y. Povilaitis
    • 1
  • Allison F. Lauretti
    • 1
  • Christina L. Pouquette
    • 1
  1. 1.Frances L. Hiatt School of PsychologyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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