Child abuse incidence and reporting by hospitals: significance of severity, class, and race

Am J Public Health. 1985 Jan;75(1):56-60. doi: 10.2105/ajph.75.1.56.


Estimates from the National Study of the Incidence and Severity of Child Abuse and Neglect suggest that hospitals recognized over 77,000 cases of child abuse between May 3, 1979, and April 30, 1980. Compared to other agencies in the sample, hospitals identified children who were younger, Black, lived in urban areas, and had more serious injuries. Hospitals failed to report to child protection agencies almost half of the cases that met the study's definition of abuse. Discriminant analysis revealed that income, mother's role in abuse, emotional abuse, race, maternal employment, and sexual abuse distinguished the reported from the unreported cases. Disproportionate numbers of unreported cases were victims of emotional abuse and came from families of higher income. Their mothers were more often White and more often alleged to be responsible for the injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Financial Management*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Risk Management*
  • Sex Offenses
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States