Environmental influences on incidents of alleged child abuse and neglect in New York State psychiatric facilities: toward an etiology of institutional child maltreatment

Child Abuse Negl. 1986;10(2):171-80. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(86)90078-5.


In order to gain a better understanding of the etiology of institutional child maltreatment, 232 allegations of child abuse and neglect in New York State Office of Mental Health operated facilities were investigated with the hypothesis that environmental stresses placed on professional child care workers can precipitate incidents of child maltreatment in institutional settings in the same way that stress and anxiety experienced by a parent can contribute to incidents of abuse in the home. The study focused on administrative policy decisions, patient census and admissions, seasonal influences, staffing levels and identifiable one-time disruptions in daily routines as potential contributors to institutional abuse. A multivariate regression analysis revealed a significant four-variable model for predicting the number of reports of abuse and neglect per month, R2 = .585, F(4,21) = 7.41, p less than .01. Potential preventive measures based on this model were suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Child, Institutionalized*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric*
  • Hospitals, Public*
  • Hospitals, State*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York
  • Registries
  • Regression Analysis