Theses Doctoral

Relationship Transitions, Fatherhood, and the Prevention of Child Maltreatment

Schneider, William Joseph

Child maltreatment is a prevalent and pernicious problem in the United States. In 2013, nearly 680,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment, with actual instances of maltreatment likely significantly higher. Exposure to maltreatment has negative short and long-term impacts on child wellbeing and development. Poverty and single parenthood have long been shown to be primary determinants in the etiology of child maltreatment. Changes in family structure over the last 50 years have resulted in dramatic declines in the number of children who grow up in a two parent married household. Indeed, recent research indicates that large numbers of children will experience living with a single mother as well as experiencing multiple parental relationships throughout their childhoods.
At the same time that non-marital relationships have become increasingly common, ideas about the role of fathers in parenting have changed as well. Traditional normative views of fathers as breadwinners have given way to an increased focus on the ways in which father involvement in parenting can influence positive child development. In contrast, research on child maltreatment has largely left the possible role of fathers in protecting against child maltreatment unaddressed. To date, little research has investigated the ways in which mothers’ relationship transitions, as opposed to static measures of marital status, might be associated with the risk for child maltreatment or how fathers’ involvement in parenting may buffer the risk for maternal child maltreatment.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Waldfogel, Jane
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 22, 2016