Multimethod prediction of child abuse risk in an at-risk sample of male intimate partner violence offenders

Academic Article


  • The vast majority of research on child abuse potential has concentrated on women demonstrating varying levels of risk of perpetrating physical child abuse. In contrast, the current study considered factors predictive of physical child abuse potential in a group of 70 male intimate partner violence offenders, a group that would represent a likely high risk group. Elements of Social Information Processing theory were evaluated, including pre-existing schemas of empathy, anger, and attitudes approving of parent-child aggression considered as potential moderators of negative attributions of child behavior. To lend methodological rigor, the study also utilized multiple measures and multiple methods, including analog tasks, to predict child abuse risk. Contrary to expectations, findings did not support the role of anger independently predicting child abuse risk in this sample of men. However, preexisting beliefs approving of parent-child aggression, lower empathy, and more negative child behavior attributions independently predicted abuse potential; in addition, greater anger, poorer empathy, and more favorable attitudes toward parent-child aggression also exacerbated men's negative child attributions to further elevate their child abuse risk. Future work is encouraged to consider how factors commonly considered in women parallel or diverge from those observed to elevate child abuse risk in men of varying levels of risk.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rodriguez CM; Gracia E; Lila M
  • Start Page

  • 27
  • End Page

  • 35
  • Volume

  • 60