From Causes to Outcomes: Determining Prevention Can Work

Paul Lanier, Kathryn Maguire-Jack, Joseph Mienko, Carlomagno Panlilio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


To be successful in practice with families and to gain support for further dissemination, maltreatment prevention interventions must accomplish two goals of program design and evaluation: (1) develop and implement a logic model informed by theory that targets known causes of child maltreatment, and (2) demonstrate evidence of effectiveness with rigorous methodological designs that isolate program effects. The current chapter focuses on the role of two types of causal inquiry for research in child maltreatment prevention. The chapter begins with a discussion of how theories on maltreatment etiology inform logic models for existing prevention programs (“causes of known effects”). We then move to a summary of exciting statistical methods that bring us closer to inferring causality in observational studies (“effects of known causes”). The chapter ends with reflections on methodological advances for the future of maltreatment prevention, with a discussion on how to continue to move the field forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChild Maltreatment
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Issues in Research and Policy
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameChild Maltreatment: Contemporary Issues in Research and Policy
ISSN (Print)2211-9701
ISSN (Electronic)2211-971X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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