Disparities in reported and substantiated infant maltreatment by maternal Hispanic origin and nativity: a birth cohort study

Matern Child Health J. 2015 May;19(5):958-68. doi: 10.1007/s10995-014-1594-9.


We followed Latino infants prospectively through age 1 to determine whether maternal foreign-born status conferred a protective advantage against reported and substantiated maltreatment across Hispanic-origin groups, and whether the likelihood an infant was reported or substantiated for maltreatment varied by Hispanic origin. We drew data for all Latino infants born in California between 2000 and 2006 (N = 1,909,155) from population-based birth records linked to child protective services data. We used χ(2) tests to assess distributional differences in covariates and utilized generalized linear models to estimate the adjusted relative risk of report and substantiation in models stratified by nativity. We observed significant health advantages in reported and substantiated maltreatment for infants of foreign-born mothers within every Hispanic-origin group. Risks of report and substantiation among infants of Mexican and Central/South American mothers were consistently lower than Puerto Rican and Cuban mothers despite socioeconomic disadvantage. The presence of disparities among Hispanic-origin groups in child maltreatment report and substantiation during infancy has implications for the health of Latinos across the life course. Further research is warranted to unravel the complex processes underlying observed relationships.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Birth Certificates
  • California / epidemiology
  • Central America / ethnology
  • Child Abuse / ethnology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cuba / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Mothers
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • South America / ethnology
  • Young Adult