What have we learned about treating child physical abuse? A literature review of the last decade

Child Abuse Negl. 1995 Apr;19(4):463-73. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(95)00005-s.


A literature review of articles on treatment of physically abused children and treatment of physically abused parents was undertaken. Only articles that had more than five subjects in the sample, at least 15% of the children in the sample having been physically abused and either pretest, posttest; comparison group; or randomization between different treatments used in the design were selected. Twelve papers meeting these criteria for abusive parents and 13 for treatment of abused children were found. Treatment duration ranged from 4 weeks to 12 months for parents and 4 weeks to 24 months for children. A wide range of treatments were used, the most popular for children being therapeutic daycare, with emphasis on improving developmental skills. While most programs showed some improvement with treatment, many had no, or very short, follow-up to see if improvement was sustained. More emphasis needs to be placed on rigorous evaluation and longer-term follow-up of children in physical abuse treatment programs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Counseling
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Parents / education
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychotherapy, Group
  • Research Design
  • Treatment Outcome