Direct and Indirect Effects of Maltreatment and Social Support on Children’s Social Competence Across Reporters

Laura E. Miller-Graff, Kathryn H. Howell, Cecilia Martinez-Torteya, Katherine Grein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Children’s social competence is a key characteristic of resilience, yet little research has assessed contributing factors to this construct. The objectives of this study were to examine direct and indirect effects of maltreatment on children’s social competence, the promotive role of child and caregiver social support, and factors contributing to reports of child social competence across informants. Structural equation modeling evaluated the influence of CPS report history, child adjustment, and child and caregiver social support on child social competence in n = 783 caregiver-child dyads. CPS report history (age 0–8) was indirectly related to low social competence through child adjustment problems. Social support was a significant promotive factor of child social competence, with caregiver social supports predicting higher levels of parent-reported child social competence. Child social support predicted self-reported child social competence. Findings reinforce the assertion that both caregiver and child social support networks are critical to promoting child well-being after adversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-753
Number of pages13
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data used in this publication were made available by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and have been used with permission. Data from Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) Assessments 0–12 were originally collected by Desmond K. Runyan, Howard Dubowitz, Diana J. English, Jonathan Kotch, Alan Litrownik, Richard Thompson and Terri Lewis & The LONGSCAN Investigator Group. Funding for the project was provided by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, Dept. of Health and Human Services (The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN), under the Office of Human Services funded this consortium of studies during the early years of data collection from 04/01/1991 until NCCAN became part of OCAN in 1998) (Award Number: 90CA1467, 90CA1481, 90CA1466, 90CA1458, 90CA1572, 90CA1569, 90CA1568, 90CA1566, 90CA1678, 90CA1681, 90CA1680, 90CA1676, 90CA1677, 90CA1679, 90CA1744, 90CA1745, 90CA1746, 90CA1747, 90CA1748, 90CA1749). The collector of the original data, the funder, NDACAN, Cornell University and their agents or employees bear no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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