Maltreatment of Handicapped Children

  • Robert T. Ammerman
  • Martin J. Lubetsky
  • Karen F. Drudy


As professional and public awareness of the problem of child maltreatment expands, increased attention is being directed toward abuse and neglect of handicapped children. Indeed, in the initial stages of controlled empirical research on child maltreatment, several authors speculated that handicapped children are at greater risk for abuse and neglect relative to their nonhandicapped peers (Helfer, 1973; Solomons, 1979). This belief was derived, in large part, from the growing literature reporting a disproportionate number of handicapped individuals in samples of abused and neglected children (e.g., Birrell & Birrell, 1968; Lightcap, Kurland, & Burgess, 1982). Methodological shortcomings in much of this literature, however, have prompted some authors to reject the link between handicap and subsequent maltreatment (Starr, Dietrich, Fischhoff, Ceresnie, & Zweier, 1984). In contrast, others have acknowledged the relative paucity of and methodological limitations in much of the research conducted to date, but argue that there are compelling reasons to suspect that a significant number of handicapped children are at heightened risk for maltreatment in general, and physical abuse in particular (Ammerman, Van Hasselt, & Hersen, 1988).


Child Abuse Handicapped Child Physical Punishment Parental Psychopathology Handicap Child 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert T. Ammerman
    • 1
  • Martin J. Lubetsky
    • 2
  • Karen F. Drudy
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Research and Clinical PsychologyWestern Pennsylvania School for Blind ChildrenPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.John Merck Program, Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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