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CDC Special Supplement: Interrupting Child Maltreatment across Generations through Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships

Positive Relationship Factors May Help Break the Cycle of Child Maltreatment

The papers in this supplement investigate the role of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and social contexts in the lives of children and their caregivers, as well as provide insight into relational factors that influence the intergenerational cycle of child maltreatment.  A number of important avenues to improve the lives of children and families by preventing violence and promoting health and well-being are shared. Overall, results suggest that safe, stable, nurturing relationships have a significant protective effect on the intergenerational transmission of maltreatment, thus highlighting a potentially critical opportunity for prevention of the cycle of violence and promotion of health across the lifespan.

This special supplement of the Journal of Adolescent Health, Interrupting Child Maltreatment across Generations through Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships,” is the result of collaboration between the CDC and researchers leading four important longitudinal studies on intergenerational patterns of violence: The Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, the Family Transitions Project, the Lehigh Longitudinal Study, and the Rochester Youth Development/Intergenerational Study.

Prevention and Research – Looking Forward

  • Efforts focused on enhancing safe, stable, nurturing relationships not only between parents and children, but also between parents and other adults, may be a helpful prevention strategy for breaking the cycle of child maltreatment.
  • Effective strategies may include expanding existing multi-component programs, targeting high risk child maltreatment survivors, and working on skills building and training to enhance parents’ ability to access and maintain healthy relationships.
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