Relations of parental report and observation of parenting to maltreatment history

David S. Bennett, Margaret Wolan Sullivan, Michael Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Parenting assessments (the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale, CTSPC; and a mother-child observation) were examined for their ability to identify mothers with a history of physically abusing or neglecting their child. Participants were mothers of 139 children (age 3 to 6 years; 58 with a history of maltreatment). Mothers with a history of maltreatment reported higher scores on the Neglect, Nonviolent Discipline, and Psychological Aggression subscales of the CTSPC. These group differences, however, were limited to mothers who acknowledged a history of maltreatment, as mothers who concealed their maltreatment history rated themselves similar to controls. Observation of parental behaviors during a brief, nonstressful task did not discriminate mothers who maltreated from mothers who did not maltreat. The findings suggest that parental report using the CTSPC may be useful in assessing parenting behaviors among mothers with a history of maltreatment, although socially desirable responding is a significant problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


  • Assessment
  • Neglect
  • Parenting
  • Physical abuse


Dive into the research topics of 'Relations of parental report and observation of parenting to maltreatment history'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this