• An ecological approach to reducing child maltreatment

      Mann, Linda Neunlist; Goldmeier, John (1991)
      This study was conducted to determine the effect of a parent training program on maltreating parents. The program was a brief intervention, based on the ecological model of child maltreatment, using both group and class sessions and was designed to provide parenting information and knowledge. The expectation was that at the end of the twelve-week program, the parents would increase in the parenting knowledge and skills, thereby increasing their parenting abilities and decreasing the likelihood that they would abuse or neglect their children. The study used three objective instruments in an attempt to measure changes in the parents' child abuse potential, levels of depression, and appraisal of social support. More than half of the subjects dropped out of the program prior to completion and a large number of the participants did not provide valid information on the three objective measures. However, in spite of these problems, the data analysis indicated that there were significant differences between the subjects' pre- and post-test scores, suggesting that participation in the parent training program had a positive benefit for a majority of the participants. The study findings indicate that, following the intervention, the parents had reduced levels of depression, reduced levels of child abuse potential, and increased appraisals of social support. In addition, there were significant differences between the participants who completed the program and those who dropped out and between the participants who provided valid information on the measures and those who provided invalid information. The study findings can be useful for social workers who are involved in planning and designing programs for maltreating parents and the findings suggest that parent training programs can be a beneficial intervention in efforts to reduce child maltreatment.