Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

September 2001


Published in Aggression and Violent Behavior 6:5 (September–October 2001), pp. 433–457; doi 10.1016/ S1359-1789(00)00015-X. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. Used by permission.


Some professionals have hypothesized that the observed problems in children who have been maltreated may actually be a result of the combination of risk factors surrounding the child, including but not limited to direct results of the abuse itself. This article examines the complexity of hypothesized pathways to poor adjustment after physical and sexual abuse. The literature on the impact of major risk factors associated with maltreatment is reviewed in an attempt to clarify the potential contributions of these contextual variables on the development of psychopathology in physically and sexually abused children. The implications this analysis may yield for prevention, intervention, and research in this field are also discussed.