Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

March 1994


Published in Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 18 (1994), pp. 11-25. Copyright © 1993 Pergamon Press Ltd./Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Identification and reporting of possible cases of child physical abuse are critical precursors to intervention with maltreating families. Professionals from a variety of disciplines are mandated to report suspected cases of child maltreatment. Unfortunately, not all physically abused children are identified or reported. This paper reviews the literature that has examined factors that may influence the identification and reporting of physical abuse by physicians. The literature review is preceded by an overview of the multistep, multibehavior process of identification and reporting. The factors that may influence identification and reporting are discussed according to their association with the case, physician, or setting. Future directions for research in the area of identification and reporting are suggested throughout the paper.