Elevated risk of child maltreatment in families with stepparents but not with adoptive parents

Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, Eveline M. Euser, Peter Prinzie, Femmie Juffer, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Does child maltreatment occur more often in adoptive and stepfamilies than in biological families? Data were collected from all 17 Dutch child protective services (CPS) agencies on 13,538 cases of certified child maltreatment in 2005. Family composition of the maltreated children was compared to a large national representative sample of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS). Larger families, one-parent families, and families with a stepparent showed elevated risks for child maltreatment. Adoptive families, however, showed significantly less child maltreatment than expected. The findings are discussed in the context of parental investment theory that seems to be applicable to stepparents but not to adoptive parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adoption
  • Child maltreatment
  • Parental investment
  • Stepparents

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