Risk factors for child neglect: A meta-analytic review
Abstract Knowledge of risk factors and their effects is vital for successfully preventing and reducing child neglect. This study provides a meta-analytic update of research on risk factors for child neglect. A total of 315 effect sizes were extracted from 36 primary studies and classified into 24 risk domains. Effects of 15 risk domains were significant and ranged from small ( r = .110) to large ( r = .372) in magnitude. Most risks were found at the parental level, such as having a history of antisocial behavior/criminal offending ( r = .372); having a history of mental/psychiatric problems ( r = . 259); having mental/physical problems ( r = .207); and experiences of abuse in own childhood ( r = .182). The effect of mother-related risk factors was not significantly different from the effect of father-related risk factors. It is concluded that child neglect is determined by multiple risk domains and that especially parent-related risk factors are important in preventing and reducing child neglect. Implications of the results for clinical practice are discussed.