Behavioral Treatment of Child Abuse: A Developmental Perspective

Sandra T. Azar, Beth R. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This article reviews cognitive and behavioral treatment strategies that have been employed with parents who physically abuse their children. Using a developmental framework, a broadened view of abuse is presented that emphasizes targets for intervention that not only reduce aversive parental behavior but also increase behaviors that lead to more optimal child outcome. Interventions with maltreaters are then described, focusing on three periods of childhood -infancy, middle childhood, and adolescence. An argument is made for there being different goal parental behaviors during each of these periods, as well as unique child-based demands that act as obstacles to parents' successfully meeting these goals. Where behavioral treatments with abusive parents do not yet exist, treatments with similar parent populations are described. The article concludes with a discussion of the treatment issues facing the field in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-300
Number of pages22
JournalBehavior Modification
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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