What do we Know About Child Abuse and Neglect Patterns in Co-Occurrence? A Systematic Review of Profiling Studies and Recommendations for Future Research

Agata Debowska, Dominic Willmott, Daniel Boduszek, Adele Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Latent class (LCA) and latent profile (LPA) analysis represent methodological approaches to identify subgroups of maltreated individuals. Although research examining child abuse and neglect (CAN) profiles is still rare, the application of person-centered techniques to clarify CAN types co-occurrence has substantially increased in recent years. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to provide a summary and critical evaluation of the findings of LCA/LPA child maltreatment research to: (a) systemize the current understanding of patterns of maltreatment across populations and (b) elucidate interactive effects of CAN types on psychosocial functioning. A search in PsychInfo, Eric, PubMed, Scopus, and Science Direct, and Google Scholar was performed. Sixteen studies examining the co-occurrence between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and/or exposure to domestic violence were identified. A critical review of the studies revealed inconsistent findings as to the number of CAN classes, but most research uncovered a poly-victimized and a low abuse group. Further, multiple victimization was associated with most adverse internalizing and externalizing outcomes, especially when sexual abuse was present. Exposure to physical and emotional abuse was frequently reported to lead to behavioural problems. Based on the present study results, we provide a set of recommendations for surpassing the current methodological and conceptual limitations in future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date10 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


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