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Journal Article


Lamela D, Figueiredo B. J. Interpers. Violence 2018; 33(8): 1287-1305.


University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.


(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)






Previous studies have identified the predictive risk factors of child physical maltreatment (CPM). However, a significant number of these studies assessed risk factors in isolation. The cumulative risk hypothesis postulates that health problems are caused by the accumulation of risk factors, independently of the presence or absence of specific risk indicators. Few studies examined the effect of cumulative risk on CPM potential. This study aimed to test two concurrent models of cumulative risk of CPM potential by investigating whether CPM potential was better predicted by a threshold cumulative risk model or a linear cumulative risk model. Data from the National Representative Study of Psychosocial Context of Child Abuse and Neglect in Portugal were used. Parents of school-age children (N = 796) answered to self-report measures regarding sociodemographic variables, history of child maltreatment, psychological distress, and CPM potential. A cumulative risk index was computed, comprising 10 dichotomized risk factors. Evidence for a threshold cumulative effect was found. Additional bivariate logistic regressions revealed that the odds for high-potential CPM were dramatically higher for those parents with six or more risk factors when compared with parents with any one risk factor. By testing and confirming a threshold cumulative effect on CPM potential, it was possible to find a "trigger point" from which a dramatic increase in child physical maltreatment potential occurs.

Language: en


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