The central concept contained in the proposed research questions consists of "child abuse," understood as inclusive of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and/or the neglect of children under the age of 18 and which affects as many as three million or 1.5 percent of the nation's children (Baker, 1999). Operationalizing the concept requires measurement, which in turn necessitates categorizing reported incidences of child abuse into sub-categories such as physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect (further divided into appropriate subtypes, including emotional/psychological neglect, failure to protect children from other forms of abuse from others, failure to provide adequate housing or food, and so forth).
The central problem associated with obtaining an operational measure of child abuse is the failure of many children who are subject to abuse to be identified; a lack of comprehensive reporting of all potential cases of child abuse or neglect makes it extremely dif
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