Background The purpose of this study is to describe the family health, functioning, social support and the child maltreatment risk and associations between them in families expecting a baby. It is crucial for welfare of children, to find families needing special support before the pattern of maltreatment has been developed within the family.
Methods The child maltreatment risk in families was measured using the Child Abuse Potential Scale (CAP). Health, functioning and social support were measured using the Family Health, Functioning and Social Support Scale (FAFHES). Data were collected from mothers and spouses at 30 weeks of pregnancy. Data were analysed by multivariate logistic modelling for explaining the child maltreatment risk level of families and for examining the associations between health, functioning, social support and the risk level.
Results Data included 380 families, 136 of them were expecting their first baby and 78 families had an increased risk for child maltreatment. Heightened risk was associated with the age of the spouse, the mother’s education, the mental health problems of the spouse’s father, the mother’s concern about her spouse’s drinking, and the mother’s difficulties in talking about the family’s problems. Child maltreatment risk was associated with family functioning and health. Families with risk received a little less support from maternity clinics.
Conclusions Families with child maltreatment risk and related factors were found. This knowledge can be applied for supporting families both during pregnancy and after the baby is born. The research continues as a part of Family Violence Research Project, by assessing the possible changes in family situation, while the baby is about 12 months of age.
- Child maltreatment
- risk of the family