The Genetic, Social, & Behavioral Factors That Motivate Parents to Abuse their Children


This paper examines the influence of economic, genetic, behavioral, and social factors on the parental choice to abuse one’s child. I derive a choice model for the parents based on McFadden’s (1974) conditional logit model. Within society, the parent or parents not only bear the responsibility for their child’s well being, but also for ensuring the child will grow up to be an educated, productive member of society. Through the examination of individual parent and child behavior patterns, as well as numerous social and economic factors from the Physical Violence in American Families Survey of 1985, I show that after a child behaves in a certain manner, the parent chooses to abuse based on numerous social, economic, and genetic variables. Child abuse is a social problem that has not been examined heavily in the field of economics, but with the help of econometric analysis I examine how behavior and social trends can increase the probability of child abuse. Hopefully this analysis will lead to suggestions on how to remedy this problem. [excerpt

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