Concordance between self-reported maltreatment and court records of abuse or neglect among high-risk youths

Monica H. Swahn*, Daniel J. Whitaker, Courtney B. Pippen, Rebecca T. Leeb, Linda A. Teplin, Karen M. Abram, Gary M. McClelland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. We examined the concordance between measures of self-reported maltreatment and court records of abuse or neglect in a sample of detained youths. Methods. Data were collected by the Northwestern Juvenile Project and include interviews from 1829 youths aged 10-18 years. Participants were newly detained youths in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Illinois between 1995 and 1998. Self-reported cases of child maltreatment were compared with court records of abuse or neglect in the Cook County judicial system. Results. We found that among detained youths, 16.6% of those who reported any maltreatment, 22.2% of those who reported the highest level of maltreatment, and 25.1% of those who reported that they required medical treatment as a result of maltreatment had a court record of abuse or neglect. Among those with any self-reported maltreatment, girls (vs boys) and African Americans (vs Whites) were more likely to have a court record (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.18; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.53, 3.09; and AOR = 2.12; 95% CI = 1.23, 3.63, respectively). Conclusions. Official records seriously underestimate the prevalence of maltreatment, which indicates that multiple data sources are needed to document the true prevalence of maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1849-1853
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume96
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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