Use of mental health services by children of physically abused women

Stacey B. Plichta, Sarah Mccue Horwitz, John M. Leventhal, Philip J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the relationship between children's use of mental health services and their mother's report of physical abuse. It was a prospective cohort design, with 1-year follow-up. All 4− to 8-year-old children and their families who presented at a random sample of community-based pediatric practices during two 3-week periods in 1987 and 1988 were invited to participate; 94% agreed to participate and in-depth interviews of the mothers were conducted on 83% (1148) of the sample. Among participants, 84% were white, 41% of the mothers had more than 12 years of school, and 10% were living below the poverty line; 8.3% of mothers reported that they had been severely beaten in their lifetime. A multivariate analysis (which controlled for demographic characteristics and child behavior problems) showed that children with mothers who had been beaten were more than twice as likely to use mental health services in the following year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-190
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1994


  • Children
  • Mental health
  • Spouse abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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