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November 4, 1983

Child Abuse Prediction: Policy Implications

Author Affiliations

Louisiana State University Medical Center New Orleans


edited by Raymond H. Starr, Jr, 222 pp, with illus, $24.50, Cambridge, Mass, Ballinger Publishing Co, 1982.

JAMA. 1983;250(17):2377. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340170099045

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book is composed of a collection of revised and edited papers originally presented at a study group on "Issues in the Prediction of Child Abuse," sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development. The year of presentation of the papers is not specified, but dated references cited suggest the middle to late 1970s. Apparently, most of the papers have been updated for the publication.

Early chapters examine definitional problems in detail and discuss the selection of appropriate theoretical models for abuse—both of which represent important components in the framework for research in the field. The reader is quickly led to the conclusion that primary efforts should be aimed at prevention and modification, not based on identified "at risk" or "potentially abusive" groups, because the probability of accurate prediction is low.

Chapter 1 discusses the basic problem of the lack of an appropriate, practically applicable definition of abuse. This