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Journal of Social Issues, Volume 62, Number 4, 2006, Emerging Directions in Child Maltreatment Research: Perspectives on Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Bette Bottoms (Editor), Jodi Quas (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-6723-9
228 pages
November 2006, Wiley-Blackwell
Journal of Social Issues, Volume 62, Number 4, 2006, Emerging Directions in Child Maltreatment Research: Perspectives on Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy (1405167238) cover image
This volume addresses child maltreatment, one of the greatest social problems yet to be adequately addressed by social science. It showcases research on understanding, treating, and preventing child maltreatment, and illustrates how such research can be directly applied to practice, policy, and law. Specific topics covered include national trends in the incidence of child maltreatment, physiological consequences of child maltreatment, treatment for maltreatment victims, risks and opportunities associated with foster care placement following maltreatment, prevention and intervention strategies, cultural influences on the perpetration and treatment of child maltreatment, children’s competencies in various abuse-related legal contexts and their eyewitness testimony abilities, and challenges and opportunities faced by psychologists working on all forms of child maltreatment within a multidisciplinary context. Several important themes weave throughout all of the articles, including attention to (a) all forms of child maltreatment, (b) new research theories and techniques, (c) multidisciplinarity, and (d) the applicability and practical significance of the scientific research for public policy and law.


The volume has great potential to encourage better research, practice, law, and policy. It will inform scientists across various sub-fields of psychology about the most current knowledge in the discipline and the limits of that knowledge. It will encourage psychologists to think creatively about the issues from psychological, sociological, medical, and legal perspectives. It will bring balance within the current socio-political context of child maltreatment research, focusing research and policy on important issues that arise in actual child abuse cases rather than issues that surround controversial false child maltreatment allegations.


This volume demonstrates how new research findings can (a) provide practitioners with information that can support treatment efforts, (b) spawn better future programs of research, and (c) directly aid new prevention efforts and better social policy and law. This information will advance psychologists’ collective understanding of child maltreatment.

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Bette L. Bottoms is Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research on the accuracy of children’s eyewitness testimony and jurors’ perceptions of children’s testimony has garnered awards such as the Saleem Shah Early Career Award for Contributions to Psychology and Law Research (sponsored by the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology). She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and the co-editor of four books on children and legal issues. Professor Bottoms is a recipient of six teaching and mentoring awards as well as the Today’s Chicago Woman Foundation’s Rising Star Award for career and community contributions. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and Past President of the American Psychological Association’s Division 37 (Child, Youth, and Family Services) and its Section on Child Maltreatment.


Jodi Quas is Associate Professor at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses broadly on memory development and children’s involvement in the legal system. She has published extensively on such topics as the effects of stress on children’s memory, children’s eyewitness capabilities and suggestibility, and the consequences of legal involvement on child victims/witnesses. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The theoretical and applied significance of her work has been recognized by early career awards from the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) and Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (Division 9 of the American Psychological Association).

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Many of the most well-respected scholars in the field of child maltreatment have joined forces to discuss the newest research and theory regarding an exceptionally wide range of “hot” issues. In each article, the authors present the best research to date on their particular topic; discuss the practical implications of that research for treatment, prevention, and public policy; identify gaps in current knowledge; and outline an aggressive agenda for future research. Thus, all of the contributions push past the edge of current knowledge on child maltreatment and set agendas for future empirical and policy-relevant work. It is sponsored by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division 37: Child, Youth, and Family Services and its Section on Child Maltreatment, which is the professional home within the APA for research and practice related to child maltreatment.
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