The Effect of the Great Recession on the Risk for Child Maltreatment

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University
William J. Schneider, Columbia University

This paper evaluates change in maternal spanking, and physical and psychological aggression towards children, in the context of the Great Recession (December 2007 – June 2009). The study draws on the 9 year wave of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 2050) which took place between May 2007 and February 2010, and includes the period of the Great Recession as well the period before and after the recession. The study also employs data from the Consumer Sentiment Index, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Mortgage Bankers Association. We find that the Great Recession is associated with increased risk of maltreatment, as the decline in consumer confidence was associated with increased levels of high frequency spanking and physically and psychologically aggressive parenting.

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Presented in Session 84: Family and the Economy