Birth Spacing and Child Maltreatment: Population-Level Estimates for North Carolina.

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2023-04

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Abstract

We examine population-level associations between birth spacing and child maltreatment using birth records and child welfare records for 1,099,230 second or higher parity children born in North Carolina between 1997 and 2013. Building upon previous research, administrative data linkages were used to address out-of-state migration and family-level heterogeneity in birth spacing and child maltreatment risk factors. Findings provide the strongest evidence to date that very short birth spacing of zero through 6 months from last birth to the index child's conception is a prenatal predictor of child maltreatment (indexed as child welfare involvement) throughout early childhood. Consequently, information about optimal family planning during the postpartum period should become a standard component of universal and targeted child maltreatment prevention programs. However, challenging previous empirical evidence, this study reports inconsistent results for benefits of additional spacing delay beyond 6 months with regard to child maltreatment risk reduction, especially for children of racial and ethnic minorities. These findings call for further inquiry about the mechanisms driving the connections between birth spacing and Child Protective Services assessments.

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10.1177/10775595231171879

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Rybińska, Anna, Yu Bai, W Benjamin Goodman and Kenneth A Dodge (2023). Birth Spacing and Child Maltreatment: Population-Level Estimates for North Carolina. Child maltreatment. p. 10775595231171879. 10.1177/10775595231171879 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28999.

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Scholars@Duke

Bai

Yu Bai

Statistician III
Dodge

Kenneth A. Dodge

William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Studies

Kenneth A. Dodge is the William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He is also the founding and past director of the Center for Child and Family Policy, as well as the founder of Family Connects International

Dodge is a leading scholar in the development and prevention of aggressive and violent behaviors. His work provides a model for understanding how some young children grow up to engage in aggression and violence and provides a framework for intervening early to prevent the costly consequences of violence for children and their communities.

Dodge joined the faculty of the Sanford School of Public Policy in September 1998. He is trained as a clinical and developmental psychologist, having earned his B.A. in psychology at Northwestern University in 1975 and his Ph.D. in psychology at Duke University in 1978. Prior to joining Duke, Dodge served on the faculty at Indiana University, the University of Colorado, and Vanderbilt University.

Dodge's research has resulted in the Family Connects Program, an evidence-based, population health approach to supporting families of newborn infants. Piloted in Durham, NC, and formerly known as Durham Connects, the program attempts to reach all families giving birth in a community to assess family needs, intervene where needed, and connect families to tailored community resources. Randomized trials indicate the program's success in improving family connections to the community, reducing maternal depression and anxiety, and preventing child abuse. The model is currently expanding to many communities across the U.S.

Dodge has published more than 500 scientific articles which have been cited more than 120,000 times.

Elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2015, Dodge has received many honors and awards, including the following:

  • President (Elected), Society for Research in Child Development
  • Fellow, Society for Prevention Research
  • Distinguished Scientist, Child Mind Institute
  • Research Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health
  • Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution from the American Psychological Association
  • J.P. Scott Award for Lifetime Contribution to Aggression Research from the International Society for Research on Aggression
  • Science to Practice Award from the Society for Prevention Research
  • Inaugural recipient of the “Public Service Matters” Award from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration
  • Inaugural recipient of the Presidential Citation Award for Excellence in Research from the Society for Research on Adolescence

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