247070 Effects of childhood neglect on early adolescent violence: Exploring the mediating role of social bonds

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:50 AM

Benyamin Margolis, PhD, MPH, CHES, CPH , Department of Health Education and Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Carol W. Runyan, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Jonathan B. Kotch, MD, MPH , Dept. of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Desmond K. Runyan, MD , Social Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Shrikant Bangdiwala, PhD , University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Michael Yonas, DrPH , School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Howard Dubowitz, MD, MS , University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Child maltreatment is a key risk factor for violent behavior in youth. Although neglect is the most prevalent form of childhood maltreatment, its contribution to development of violence is unclear, as is the potential mediating role of social bonds. This study assesses the relationship between childhood neglect before age 8 and the development of early adolescent violence (EAV) by age 14, and examines whether social bonds, defined according to Social Control Theory (SCT), mediate this relationship. Data came from interviews of children (n=352) from two LONGSCAN (Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect) Consortium sites. The outcome was self-reported perpetration of serious violence in the previous 12 months. Negative binomial regression models assessed the neglect-EAV relationship by examining incidence rate ratios (IRR). Specific indirect effects were examined to determine whether the SCT constructs (attachment, commitment, belief, involvement) mediated the neglect-EAV relationship. Only 11% (n=38) reported engagement in any EAV but nearly twice as many females (n=24) than males (n=14) reported EAV. The direct relationship between neglect and EAV was positive but not significant. Although social bonds did not significantly mediate the neglect-EAV relationship, weaker commitment (IRR=0.386; p=0.050) and attachment (IRR=0.412; p=0.040) predicted higher EAV rates and there was also a significant positive effect of peer criminality on the rate of EAV. Certain social bonds are influential on perpetration of violence in early teens. Efforts to facilitate strong attachments to caregivers, prosocial peers, and institutions should be considered as preventive strategies.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss key features of the relationship between childhood neglect and early adolescent violence. 2. Describe differences in social bonds among violent and nonviolent early teens. 3. Identify social bonds that appear to reduce involvement with violent behavior in a sample of high-risk youth.

Keywords: Child Neglect, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I completed this research as part of a doctoral program, from which I successfully earned my degree. I now oversee numerous reseach program, including those involving injury prevention and child development topics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.