The protective effect of neighborhood social cohesion in child abuse and neglect

Kathryn Maguire-Jack, Kathryn Showalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Relations between parents within a neighborhood have the potential to provide a supportive environment for healthy and positive parenting. Neighborhood social cohesion, or the mutual trust and support among neighbors, is one process through which parenting may be improved. The current study investigates the association between neighborhood social cohesion and abuse and neglect, as well as specific types of abuse and neglect. The sample for the study is comprised of 896 parents in one urban Midwestern County in the United States. Participants were recruited from Women, Infants, and Children clinics. Negative binomial regression is used to examine the association between neighborhood social cohesion and child maltreatment behaviors, as measured by the Conflict Tactics Scale, Parent-to-Child Version (Straus et al., 1998). In this sample of families, neighborhood social cohesion is associated with child neglect, but not abuse. In examining the relationship with specific types of abuse and neglect, it was found that neighborhood social cohesion may have a protective role in some acts of neglect, such as meeting a child's basic needs, but not potentially more complex needs like parental substance abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Leah Gjertson for thoughtful feedback on this project. The research was funded by an internal grant from The Ohio State University, College of Social Work .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Child abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Neighborhoods
  • Protective factors
  • Social cohesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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